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Country Spotlight – Côte d’Ivoire

In the Country Spotlight segment, we highlight an African nation every week, with interesting facts and figures

This week it’s the turn of….Côte d’Ivoire


  • The coast that the French named the Côte d’Ivoire, literally, being “Ivory Coast” was named because it reflected the major trade that occurred on that particular stretch of the coast, the export of ivory.
  • The flag consists of orange, white and green.  the orange  stands for the land, the savannah found in the northern part and its fertility, the white represents peace, and the green represents hope and also the forest of the southern part of the country


  • The most prominent symbol of Côte d’Ivoire is its national emblem, which depicts a shield displaying the profile of an elephant’s head, surrounded by two palm trees, with the rising sun above the head and a banner bearing the words République de Côte d’Ivoire beneath it.


  • The country is the world’s largest exporter of cocoa beans, and the fourth-largest exporter of goods, in general, in sub-Saharan Africa


  • The maintenance of close ties to France since independence in 1960, diversification of agriculture for export, and encouragement of foreign investment have been factors in the economic growth of Ivory Coast
  • Ivory Coast is famous for its biodiversity, with more than 230 mammals, 700 birds, 125 reptiles, 100 fish and over 35 different types of amphibians, not to mention around 4,700 plant species.

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  • Ivory Coast’s capital, Yamoussoukro, is home to the largest church building in the world, the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro.


  • French is the official language used throughout the country, however there are over sixty native languages.
  • Popular local dishes include kedjenou (chicken with braised vegetables), attieke (cassava ground into couscous-like grains and eaten with fish or meat) and specialities such as pan-fried frog’s legs.

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  • A popular snack is aloko, fried plantain served with onions and chillies. It can be eaten alone as a snack or often with a hard-boiled egg, as well as a side dish.


  • Ivorian land snails are huge and very appreciated, commonly grilled or eaten in sauce.


  • Ivorians often quench their thirst with ginger beer or locally-brewed beer. Another popular drink is palm wine.


  • Ivorians have a kind of small, open-air restaurant called a maquis, which is unique to Côte d’Ivoire. Maquis normally feature braised chicken and fish served with onions and tomatoes, attiéké or kedjenou.


  • The most popular sport in Ivory Coast is association football. The national football team has played in the World Cup three times, in Germany 2006, in South Africa 2010, and Brazil in 2014. The woman’s football team played in the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada.

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  • Ivory Coast most notable footballers are Didier Drogba, Yaya Touré, and Gervinho.


  • The country has been the host for several major African sporting events, with the most recent being the 2013 African Basketball Championship
  • Music is an integral part of Ivorian culture and traditionally griots, or story-tellers, would make a musical accompaniment to their entertainment, with instruments such as drums or gongs. Music and dance continue to play an important part in ceremonies, both modern and ancient.


  • One of the best-known celebrations is the Festival of Masks in November, where dancers in the Man region pay homage to the spirits.


  • Hip hop has been popular in Ivory Coast since the mid-1990s, and includes a gangsta rap-influenced style called rap dogba.
  • Zoblazo, pioneered from 1990 by Freddy Meiway, integrated traditional rhythms of southern Ivory Coast with electronic instruments and party lyrics. His success across the country and West Africa in the mid to late 1990s spawned a string of hit Zoblazo records that has continued on.


That’s it for this edition of Country Spotlight featuring Côte d’Ivoire

Join us again next week for our next spotlight

 See you then!

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