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About Côte d'Ivoire

Formerly known as the Ivory Coast, this West Africa country officially uses its French name, Côte d’Ivoire (pronounced kot dee-VWAHR). It neighbors Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Ghana. The geography ranges from coastal beaches and forests in the south to a savanna plateau in the north. Muslims, who make up 40 percent of the population, live mostly in the north, while Christians (35 percent) mostly inhabit the south.

The country has 60 ethnic groups; the Baoule, inhabiting the central region, is the largest group. The dominance of the Baoule in running the country since independence is a major issue with other groups.

Fast Facts

  • Population: 18,154,000
  • Capital: Abidjan (administrative); 3,516,000—Yamoussoukro (legislative); 416,000
  • Area: 322,462 square kilometers (124,503 square miles)
  • Language: French, Dioula, 60 native dialects
  • Religion: Christian, Muslim, indigenous beliefs
  • Currency: CFA franc
  • GDP per Capita: U.S. $1,400
  • Literacy Percent: 51
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