Ivory Coast Border Map

Yearbook 2003

Ivory Coast. The intensity of the civil war that erupted in September 2002 waned in January, and at the end of the month the government and the three rebel groups signed a peace agreement. A unifying government would be formed and the president would hand over a series of powers to a new prime minister.

According to Countryaah.com, Ivory Coast Independence Day is August 7. Seydou Diarra, a respected politician from the north, was appointed head of the unity government. led a national reconciliation conference a year earlier. Government formation, however, dragged on over time. The rebels took part in occasional meetings, but most often boycotted the government in protest against President Laurent Gbagbo unilaterally appointing a Minister of Defense and a Minister of the Interior that they did not want to approve. The Rebels had demanded to add these two important items themselves. New battles flared over and over in the western parts of the country. The rebels accused the loyalist militia backed by Liberian mercenaries for being behind the outbreak of war.

A new ceasefire agreement was concluded on May 1, and now the Liberian army was behind the agreement. In June the parties decided to gather all the soldiers in the cities, and in July the UN was able to send a first group of unarmed military observers.

On July 5, the war was officially concluded. The international peacekeeping force that began stationing in the Ivory Coast at the end of 2002 was strengthened and amounted to nearly 4,000 French soldiers and more than 3,000 from West African countries during the fall. But still not all ministerial issues were resolved, and at the end of September, the rebels interrupted government cooperation.

West African leaders held a series of meetings to try to resolve the conflict, but only in December did the rebels say they were prepared to take back their positions in the government. The war, which made between 600,000 and 1 million people homeless, had also had devastating economic consequences. The fact that the Ivory Coast was still judged to have little economic growth in 2003 was entirely due to an unusually good cocoa harvest and favorable prices. For most other industries, it looked bleak.

Ivory Coast Border Map