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Côte d'Ivoire

  • Written by IRIN cs/cb

Côte d'Ivoire: The economic squeeze – Briefing

Abidjan, the Côte d'Ivoire commercial capital. Photo: Flickr/Y-Voir-Plus.[DAKAR] IRIN has produced a series of briefings exploring the crisis in Côte d’Ivoire triggered by contested elections in November 2010. Both Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara are laying claim to the presidency, with Gbagbo refusing to yield to international pressure to step down. The series takes a look at the UN’s position, issues of human rights, as well as the stances of the African Union, ECOWAS, western governments and the EU and World Bank.

Aside from some high profile dissenters in France, the EU has largely maintained a strong collective position on Côte d’Ivoire. The announcement from Abidjan on 6 January that the accreditation of British Ambassador Nicholas James Westcott (based in Accra) had been revoked shows the scope for retaliatory diplomacy. Both British Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Minister William Hague had been happy to support sanctions and push for the replacement of the Ivorian ambassador in London. Similarly, Canadian Ambassador Marie Isabelle Massip, who was also asked to leave, represents a government that has come out in favour of pressure against Gbagbo. Both Canada and the United Kingdom have rejected the expulsion orders as illegal.

  • Written by IRIN aa/np/cb

Côte d'Ivoire: Impasse deepens and prices soar

Vendor in the Côte d'Ivoire commercial capital Abidjan, November 2010. Photo: Monica Mark/IRIN.[ABIDJAN] While political rivals in Côte d’Ivoire trade barbs, diplomats make declarations and regional groups issue warnings, many Ivoirians are eating less so they can feed their children, as prices for basics like cooking oil, rice and flour climb, in some cases doubling.

For now the crunch is hitting mostly poor families, Ivoirians in the commercial capital Abidjan told IRIN. This is a growing population group: In 2008 nearly half of Côte d’Ivoire’s then 20 million people were below the poverty threshold of about US$1.25 per day, compared to about one-third in 2000, and 38 percent in 2002, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“Poverty has increased on a steady trend [in the past 20 years] as a result of the successive socio-political and military crises,” IMF said in a May 2009 country report.

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