Côte d’Ivoire

Driving Directions Côte d’Ivoire

Côte d’Ivoire, a former French colony in West Africa, is located on the Gulf of Guinea, with Ghana to the east and Liberia and Guinea to the west. A roughly square-shaped country, the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire comprises a once thickly forested, undulating plain in the south and west, rising to mountainous territory in the northwestern border regions.

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Much of the forest has now cleared, and the interior and northern areas consist of savannah grasslands with thinly scattered trees. Coastal lagoons are a notable feature, attracting many species of birds, but wildlife is varied and well represented throughout the country.

A tropical climate prevails in the south, where it is hot and humid with four distinct seasons – a long and a short rainy season interspersed with a long and a short dry season. In the northern savannah regions, temperatures are more extreme with a longer dry and rainy season.

Côte d’Ivoire is an agricultural country with about 55 percent of the workforce producing cocoa beans, coffee, rubber, bananas, and pineapples. It is the world’s largest producer of cocoa beans and the fourth-largest producer of coffee. These two crops bring in half the country’s export revenue, although timber production is also of economic importance.

Oil was discovered offshore in the late 1970s, and there is some mining for gold and diamonds. Since independence, industrialization has developed rapidly, particularly food processing, textiles, and sawmills. Independence was achieved in 1960, and the country has been one of the most politically stable of the African states.

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The Guinea Highlands, in the northern half of the country (from Man to Odienné), have peaks greater than 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) high. However, the country’s remaining terrain is made up of a vast plateau that tilts gently toward the Atlantic Ocean. The land is generally divided into three main regions based on the difference in natural vegetation. The Lagoon Region runs parallel to the coastline, the Dense Forest Region crosses the middle of the country, and the Savannah Woodland Region lies to the north.

Côte d’Ivoire borders the Gulf of Guinea (a part of the Atlantic Ocean) in the southern portion of the country.

Did you know about Côte d’Ivoire?

Two parks in Côte d’Ivoire – Comoé National Park and Taï National Park – have been designated World Heritage Sites by the United Nations agency called UNESCO. Comoé (Komoé) is located in the far eastern part of the country surrounding the Komoé River. This parkland, covering one of the largest protected areas in West Africa, supports a diverse plant life population.

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