|Capital||Yamoussoukro; Abidjan remains administrative center|
|Government||republic; multiparty presidential regime established 1960|
|Currency||Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XOF)|
|Area||total: 322,460 sq km |
water: 4,460 sq km
land: 318,000 sq km
|Population||16,804,784 (July 2002 est.)|
|Language||French (official), 60 native dialects with Dioula the most widely spoken|
|Religion||Christian 20-30%, Muslim 35-40%, indigenous 25-40%|
Cote d'Ivoire is a country in Western Africa that used to be known as the Ivory Coast. It has a southerly facing North Atlantic Ocean coast, and is surrounded by Ghana to the east, Liberia to the west, Guinea to the northwest, Mali to the north, and Burkina Faso to the northeast.
- Yamoussoukro - Although it has been the official capital since 1983, it is not the administrative centre.
- Abidjan - Remains the administrative center and other countries maintain their embassies there.
- Bouake - the second largest city
Tropical along coast, semiarid in far north; three seasons - warm and dry (November to March), hot and dry (March to May), hot and wet (June to October). The coast has heavy surf and no natural harbors; during the rainy season torrential flooding is possible.
Mostly flat to undulating plains; mountains in northwest. Most of the inhabitants live along the sandy coastal region. Apart from the capital area, the forested interior is sparsely populated.
- Highest point
- Mont Nimba 1,752 m
Close ties to France since independence in 1960, the development of cocoa production for export, and foreign investment made Cote d'Ivoire one of the most prosperous of the tropical African states. Falling cocoa prices and political turmoil, however, sparked an economic downturn in 1999 and 2000. On 25 December 1999, a military coup - the first ever in Cote d'Ivoire's history - overthrew the government led by President Henri Konan BEDIE. Presidential and legislative elections held in October and December 2000 provoked violence due to the exclusion of opposition leader Alassane OUATTARA. In October 2000, Laurent GBAGBO replaced junta leader Robert GUEI as president, ending 10 months of military rule. In October 2001, President GBAGBO initiated a two-month-long National Reconciliation Forum, but its ability to conciliate Ivorians with one another remains unclear.
The official language is French, but there are 60 native dialects as well. The most widely spoken is Dioula.
The UK's Foreign and Commonwealth office (FCO) advises against all travel to the Ivory Coast at this time. Up to date travel advice is available at  (http://www.fco.gov.uk).