Located in West Africa in the Golf of Guinea, Cote d'Ivoire extends on a surface of 322.463 km2 and includes a coastal strip covered by a tropical forest. Further, inside the lands, the country rises gradually towards a vegetation of savanna at an average altitude of 300m.

The Mount Nimba (1,788m), located on the western border with Guinea and Liberia, is the highest point. Four large rivers, namely Cavally, Sassandra, Bandama and Comoe, drain the country from north to the Atlantic Ocean. The climate is tropical, with precipitations which vary between 1200 mm in north and 2500 mm in the south. The raining season extends from May to October with a maximum of precipitations in May-June and October.

Cote d'Ivoire counts a little more than 15 million inhabitants. Many immigrants, resulting mainly from nearest countries, constitute 26% of the population. More than 40% of the population is urban and the literacy rate is estimated at approximately 40%.

Abidjan Capitale Economique The economic capital is Abidjan (3 million inhabitants), located in the south in border by the sea. Yamoussoukro, in the central area of the country, is the political and administrative capital, although the majority of the administrations, embassies and organizations international are still located in Abidjan.

Cote d'Ivoire is one of the 14 African countries which belonged to the French territories overseas and which share a common currency, Franc CFA.

Independence was obtained in 1960 with Mr. Felix HOUPHOUET-BOIGNY as first President of the Republic. He remained in power for about 33 years. With his death, in December 1993, Mr. Henri Konan BEDIE succeeds to him, whose government is reversed in December 1999 by elements of the Army. They established a military transition which leads to the adoption of a new constitution in the year 2000, dedicating the Second Republic. At the end of the general elections of 2000, Mr Laurent Gbagbo was elected President of the Republic.

The political system into force in Cote d'Ivoire is of the presidential type. The Head of State, President of the Republic, is elected by direct vote for five years, renewable only once. It holds the executive power, assisted by a Prime Minister, Chief of the Government.

The legislative power belongs to the National Assembly whose members are elected for five years by a general election.

The National Assembly currently has 225 elected members and the leading political party is the "Front Populair Ivoirien" (FPI).

In the administrative perspective, the country is divided into 18 zones managed by prefects of district.

After its accession to independence in 1960, Cote d'Ivoire chose a development centered on the economic liberalism, the private initiative, the mechanisms of market and the opening to the capital and foreign trade. This policy made it possible to carry out appreciable performances during the period 1960-1980, with in particular an average growth rate annual of about 7%.

Cote d'Ivoire is the first world cocoa producer and the third world coffee producer. These two products alone represent more than half of the incomes of export. The other products of export are wood, rubber, palm oil and banana, for which Cote d'Ivoire occupies the first ranks in Africa. It also exports oil and gas.

Currently, two gold mines are in exploitation. But many work of exploration undertaken for several years has made it possible to highlight many mining layers (iron, copper, nickel, manganese, bauxite) and industrial materials (decorative stones, clays for bricks, sand of glassmaking in particular).

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