Formerly called Ivory Coast, Cote d’Ivoire is one of the most successful francophone countries in West Africa. Boarded by Guinea, Liberia, Burkina Faso, Mali, Ghana and the Gulf of Guinea, it gained its independence on this day in1960 from France.
With over 78 different languages, the country has a shared population of Muslims, Christians and various indigenous religions.
For many centuries, Cote d’Ivoire was ruled by one of many Island Empires of the region, however, the French began to have an interest in exploring the area in the 1600s, but they didn’t gain control over the country until the mid-1800s.
Abidjan is the economic capital and largest city while Yamoussoukro is the centre of the country and political capital. According to results of a recent population census, Cote d’Ivoire has an estimated population of 25.72 million, which ranks 53rd in the world.
As the leader in cocoa beans production, Cote d’Ivoire supplies 33% of the world’s cocoa and produces 1.8 million tonnes as of 2017.
Despite all the progress it makes in agriculture, Cote d’Ivoire has been hit by devastating civil wars that have reduced the progress made in that sector.
Amidst these challenges, the country has been able to produce personalities who have distinguished themselves in various fields, including in sports, music, and academics.
As Cote d’Ivoire celebrates its 59th independence today, here are 5 people who have placed the West African country on the global map: