Côte d'Ivoire flag 10 x 15 cm
Côte d'Ivoire, formerly Ivory Coast, officially the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, is a country in West Africa. The government officially discourages the use of the name Ivory Coast in English, preferring the French name Côte d'Ivoire to be used in all languages (see 'Etymology' section). With an area of 322,462 km2 Côte d'Ivoire borders Liberia and Guinea to the west, Mali and Burkina Faso to the north, Ghana to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean to the south. The country's population, which was 15,366,672 in 1998, is estimated to be 18,373,060 in 2008.
Côte d'Ivoire is a republic with a strong executive power personified in the President. Its de jure capital is Yamoussoukro and the official language is French. The country is divided into 19 regions and 58 departments. Côte d'Ivoire's economy is largely market-based and relies heavily on agriculture, with smallholder cash crop production being dominant.
The country's early history is virtually unknown, although a Neolithic culture is thought to have existed. An 1843–1844 treaty made Côte d'Ivoire a protectorate of France and in 1893, it became a French colony. The country became independent on 7 August 1960. Until 1993, it was led by Félix Houphouët-Boigny and was closely associated economically and politically with its West African neighbours, for example, through the formation of the Conseil de l'Entente. At the same time the country maintained close ties to the West, especially to France, which helped its economic development and political stability. The country, through its production of coffee and cocoa, was an economic powerhouse during the 1960s and 1970s in West Africa. As a result of the economic crisis in the 1980s, the country experienced a period of political and social turmoil. Since the end of Houphouët-Boigny's rule, the country's problems have been exacerbated by two coup d’états (1999 and 2001) and a civil war since 2002, which was triggered by sociopolitical tensions triggered by the adoption of a new constitution and the election of Laurent Gbagbo as President of the Republic. The crisis ended after a political agreement was signed by Gbagbo and rebel leader Guillaume Soro on 4 March 2007 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.[8
The flag of Côte d'Ivoire (French: Drapeau de la Côte d'Ivoire) features three equal vertical bands of orange (hoist side), white, and green.
After independence, the Côte d'Ivoire formed a loose alliance of West African states. The flags of these states were influenced both by the Pan-African colors first used by Ghana, and also by the model of the French Tricolore, the flag of the former colonial power. The colors chosen for the Côte d'Ivoire's flag were also used by Niger, with which the Côte d'Ivoire had an alliance. They were intended to symbolise the following: the orange color 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 flag was adopted in 1959, just prior to independence.
It is coincidentally similar to the flag of Ireland, but the latter is longer and has the colors reversed: the green is at the hoist side.