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date: 01 October 2022

Nationalism and Decolonization in the Ivory Coastfree

Nationalism and Decolonization in the Ivory Coastfree

  • Alfred BaboAlfred BaboFairfield University


The postcolonial history of Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire) is marked by a continuum of policy-making inherited from the colonial administration and which contributed to the state’s stability and relative economic success in the 1970s in West Africa. However, government policy fluctuated in accordance with economic crises, demands for democracy, and ethnic division. Although laws aimed at normative governance, ethnic-based policy-making has been expanded to post-independence because political power in Ivorian society is still determined by ethnic loyalty. Economic distress intertwined with political ethnicity has persistently led to turmoil, from coups d’état to rebellion and civil war—in sharp contrast with the country’s earlier apparent stability, for thirty years after Independence.


  • West Africa

Establishment of Peoples

Historians tend to tie Ivory Coast’s history with that of the past precolonial Sudanese empires such as the Ghana Empire, Mali Empire, and Songhai Empire. The history of the Ivorian peoples concerns migrations and kingdoms within the west African region as well as Islamic crusades, wars of conquest and the travels of traders of salt, ivory, gold, and silk across the Sahara. Noel Loucou fixes the origin of the Baoulé people, and more broadly, the Akan, in modern-day Ghana.1 In the mid-18th century in east-central Ivory Coast, Queen Abla Pokou and her subjects broke ties with the Asante kingdom in today’s Ghana and fled, heading west. After crossing the river Comoé, one part of the group established two Agni kingdoms, the Indénié and the Sanwi, both located on the eastern border of Ivory Coast. Abla Pokou continued toward the center of the territory and founded the Baoulé kingdom in Sakassou.2 In the north, the Mali Empire had ruled the territory since the 14th century. From the ashes of this empire, the Muslim Kong Kingdom began to grow at the end of the 15th century, the Muslim Kong Kingdom grew, partly as a result of Mandé expansion, and would become the dominant center of trade and crafts, populated by a mixture of peoples as well as languages, including Dioula.3 Because of their involvement in commercial activities, the Mandé and Malinké adopted the Dioula language spoken by the Muslim traders. Neighbors of these two peoples are the Senufo, whose language is also classified by the linguist Delafosse as a member of the West African Gur group. The Senufo peoples’ establishment in the territory of Ivory Coast (Korhogo and Katiola) can be linked to the 14th-century migrations along with the Bambara trade route, which had its central station in the town of Kong. In spite of Islamization during the 17th to 19th centuries, the Senufo resisted the influence of Muslim missionaries and traders and remained predominantly animists. Unlike the Akan, Gur, and Malinké, the peoples of the Wes used a plurality of routes and departure points.4 Prior to the 18th century, the populations of the Ivorian west (Bété, Dida, Guéré, Bété, Neyo, Gban, etc.), which can be grouped into the supra-ethnic category Krou, consisted of a mosaic of tribal groups or clusters of villages.5 The official story tends to assert that these populations had their origins further west in present-day Liberia. The southwest, which has been the territory of Krou or Krao since the end of the 16th century, extends to a part of the Liberian territory between the rivers Cestos and Sinoe. The Ivorian peoples the Wè, Kroumen, and Guéré are known as the Wegnon and Kranh in Liberia and have the same cultural practices and speak the same languages.6 However, the particular microhistories of these subgroups indicate the absence of a common origin. For example, some scholars have tried to establish an autochthony claiming that the Bété, like the Dida, Godié, and Néyo, come from a single group called the Magwé, which once occupied the Ivorian southwest.7 According to Dozon, other traditional versions partially fix the precolonial origins of forest dwellers, notably the Guébié, in the east, in Ghana.

The territory occupied by all these groups, Ivory Coast, became a French colony in 1893. It is located in West Africa on the Atlantic coast. Two English-speaking countries border it, Ghana to the east and Liberia to the west; its three francophone neighbors are Mali and Burkina Faso in the north and Guinea in the northwest. Ivory Coast has been shaped by the rule and legacy of the colonial administration since it was included in the larger grouping called Afrique Occidentale Francaise (AOF, or French West Africa). The decree of 16 June 1895 created the Government of AOF, which included Senegal, Soudan Français (Mali as of 1960), Ivory Coast, and Guinea. The history of Ivory Coast is the account of long and continuous relations among Ivorian peoples, then of the Ivorians with the other peoples of the West African region, and eventually with the French colonizer. The modern history of the country is not simply roughly thirty years of “stability” followed by another thirty years—and counting—of turmoil. Instead, it could be split into three chapters in which the economic, political, and social evolution of Ivorian society are intertwined.8 First, the country was subjected to the colonial administration’s persistent influence, up to independence in 1960. Then, led by an authoritarian single-party regime in the postindependence era (1960–1990) state-led economic development achieved prosperity followed by a hard economic downfall. Lately, the country has been experiencing a chaotic democratic transition triggered by a coup d’état that was followed by insurgency and a tragic civil war (1990–2011). All these recent developments are rooted in the key phenomena of a profoundly divisive nationalism and tight competition for land, citizenship, and political power.

From Colonial Policies of Exploitation to Postcolonial “Houphouétisme”

In the colonial Ivory Coast, the French administration used cultural and economic means to exploit the land itself, through its imperial policy. Ivory Coast was a “colonie d’exploitation,” in other words, a territory to exploit in order to provide the metropole, France, with agricultural and natural resources. The colonial power, thus, defined economically important areas and ideologically constructed ethnicities based on its economic imperatives. In concert with anthropologists, the first colonial administrators identified four main ethnic groups in Ivory Coast. The Akan, a group which includes the Baoulém are located in the East and Center. The Gur, who are essentially the dominant group known as the Senufo and the Northern Mandé, known as the Malinké and colloquially called the Dioula, are the two foremost peoples in the northern region. And the Krou, a group which includes the Bété, are located in the West and in the Southwest.9 Colonial-era ethnographies described the Krou as animist peoples living by hunting, gathering, and horticulture in the rainforest regions.10 In line with this ethnographic description, the French colonial apparatus framed the inhabitants of forest areas as culturally unsuitable to participate in the colonial economy of plantation. On the other hand, northerners, including the Senufo, were praised as strong farmers.

The colonial administrators used a combination of force and peaceful approaches to subdue peoples in the south, center, and east of the colony. For example, French colonizers signed numerous treaties between 1843 and 1853 with chiefdoms from the Akan groups such as that signed in July 1843 with the king of Assinie on the eastern coast of the territory. After they signed treaties with the French settlers, the Akan, especially the Agni-Sanwi and Agni-Djuablin, and the Baoulé-Oualbebo and Baoulé-Akoue were portrayed as organized people within a state-society and more clever negotiators.11 Accordingly, the colonial administration planned and organized the migration and implantation of the Senufo, the Malinké, and the Akan (especially Baoulé) into the forests of the western and southern regions for cocoa farming. Furthermore, from 1932 to 1947, the French colonial administration joined the three colonies of Upper Volta (Burkina Faso as of 1984), Soudan Français, and Ivory Coast to facilitate and legalize the influx of Sudanese and Voltaic workers down toward the Ivorian coast and forests to constitute the agricultural labor force.

Figure 1. Ethnicity in the Ivory Coast.

Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Concomitantly, colonial administrators passed a series of policy measures that expanded the power of the French empire over land use. The colonizer proceeded by establishing the state land rights in the AOF through the decree of October 23, 1904, which states “Vacant lands without a master, in the colonies and the Territories of French West Africa, belong to the State.” Further, particularly in Ivory Coast, Decrees 1935, 1943, and 1955 all determined that rural land belonged to the state and was subject to state property rights. In practice even though people might occupy a portion of territory for the purposes of housing, farming, hunting, and gathering together, the land in fine was the property of the central government which ruled its tenure. Also, this legal move implied that the colonial administration was lawfully allowed to allot immense lands and property rights to European plantation companies growing cocoa and bananas such as La Société des Plantations réunies de l’Ouest Africain (SPROA). By framing land that was not actively cultivated as vacant, the transformation of land policy affected Ivorian indigenous peoples to a disproportionate extent. It also allowed the massive and organized migration of laborers from Upper Volta toward the western regions of Ivory Coast, where the population density was very low. For example, from 1950 to 1951, the Syndicat Interprofessionel pour l’Acheminement de la Main d’Oeuvre (SIAMO) funded the transportation of 90,000 manual workers from Bobo–Dioulasso and Ouahigouya to Ivory Coast.12 The indigenous autochthon gatherers and hunters of the southern and western forest regions, such as the Krou, were not involved in the economic development of their ancestral lands.

In turn, the ethnic divisions that had served the Ivory Coast’s colonizers in their development of land for export crops would also play a role in the opposition to colonial rule. Indeed, colonial policies that marginalized indigenous people prompted the creation of the Association de Défense des Intérets des Autochtones de Côte d’Ivoire (ADIACI) in the 1930s. The ADIACI was an indigenous social movement that was against the prevalence of foreigners on its members’ lands and territories. The birth of ADIACI represented the earliest manifestation of national consciousness in the colony of Ivory Coast. The political redistribution of human resources within the AOF by the colonial administration and indigenous peoples’ grievances about the presence of foreigners in the region’s agriculture and commerce and in its public administration were key motivators for people to join the Assocation. From 1958 to 1963, the ADIACI, alongside the League des Originaires de Côte d’Ivoire, was at the forefront of riots and violent clashes in Abidjan between local Ivorian people and immigrants from the Republic of Dahomey (Republic of Benin as of 1975), Togo, and Nigeria. These ended in the forced repatriation of about 12,000 Dahomeyans, Togolese, Ghanaians, and Nigerians from Ivory Coast in October 1958.13

Postcolonial economic development continued to reflect political ethnicity under the Houphouétisme ideology. Félix Houphouët-Boigny not only dominated Ivory Coast politics in the period from 1946 to independence in 1960 but also beyond. The young Baoulé nurse turned the Syndicat Agricole Africain (SAA), created by poor indigenous farmers, into the powerful Parti Démocratique de Côte d’Ivoire (PDCI) in April 1946. Indigenous planters invested heavily in the cultivation of cocoa, which boomed from 1925. However, the drop in the prices of products, especially cocoa and coffee that began in 1929 became more pronounced in 1939. Product prices slumped at the very moment when plants were entering optimal production levels, and the cost of labor, tools, and transport were high. When the “Houphouet Law” was passed in 1946, abolishing forced labor, the ensuing lack of laborers led to a drop in production, and the native planters revolted. They protested against the low prices for the cocoa and coffee productions to native planters while the European plantation companies benefited from higher purchase prices due to public subsidies. Houphouët-Boigny thus built his political activities on the anger of the peasants and expanded his influence beyond Ivory Coast’s borders by founding a large African trans-territorial coalition called the Rassemblement Démocratique Africain (RDA) in 1946. Armed with these powerful political instruments, Houphouët-Boigny took a hard line against the colonizers. In reaction, the French authorities sent in Ivory Coast governor Pechou with the mission to break down the raising social and political movements in the colony. The French administration’s policy of “Pacification” resulted in an explosion of violence that grasped the colony from 1946 to 1950, especially in towns such as Treichville, Dimbokro, Yamoussoukro, and Grand-Bassam. For example, the colonial administration beaten, arrested, and jailed protesters during the “March of the Women” on December 22–24, 1949, when they marched from Abidjan to Grand-Bassam to free eight anticolonial political leaders who had been imprisoned there without trial for over ten months. At that time, Houphouët-Boigny was in hiding because he was wanted by the police.

However, with the decolonization movement spreading across the continent, France authorities undertook to change their colonial ideology and strategy. They decided to build a more collaborative relationship with the new African leaders by assimilating them into the French elitist political bourgeoisie. One representative from each colony was to be elected to sit in the French National Assembly in Paris. Elections were held in 1945–1946 with the intention of reducing the influence of all African nationalists and anticolonial leaders, especially if they were among those not elected to go to France. Houphouët-Boigny, supported by the PDCI and the RDA, managed to win the legislative election and joined the French Parliament, where he formed an alliance with the Communist Party, the sole anticolonial French political party, from 1947–1950. After he was narrowly re-elected in 1951 and 1956 to the French Parliament, Houphouët-Boigny unexpectedly changed his vision of development in a way that would shape the fate of the Ivorian nation for a long time. He broke his collaboration with the Communist Party and entered the French government, and served in it from February 1956 to May 1959. In 1958, he endorsed and supported the creation of the “French Community.” Henceforth, unlike the other African leaders of the epoch who sought immediate independence, like Kwame N’Krumah of Ghana, Sékou Touré of Guinea, and Modibo Keita of Mali, Houphouët-Boigny militated for a partnered and progressive decolonization. He advocated for the permanent presence and involvement of the French administration in the new state. He then embraced the economic and political policies of the colonial administration by continuing the practice of employing foreign labor to assist the West’s economic exploitation of the country.

Thus, as the independent Ivory Coast’s first president, in post for three decades (1960–1993) Houphouët-Boigny continued the colonial policy of a less restricted view of national identity alongside encouraging economic development based on a philosophy that balanced Ivorian ethno-regional interests by welcoming economic migrants. The founding code 61–415 of the Ivorian nationality of December 14, 1961, involved mechanisms through Art. 17 and 27 that included West Africans and their descendants in the new Ivorian nation. The purpose of the lawmakers was to build a nation that integrated native Ivorians with migrants who had lived in the territory since the colonial period and who had contributed to the economic development of the country.

Growing numbers of African migrant laborers contributed to the Ivorian “economic miracle” during the 1960s and 1970s. According to Abou Bamba, the combination of economic help and diplomatic support to develop multilateral relations at the international level and the United States with local forces led to the accomplishment of economic success for the Ivory Coast just a few years after independence.14 For example, while Ghana reached a low point in the production and export of cocoa in the mid-1980s, Ivory Coast significantly increased its production levels in the same period.15 This phenomenal twenty-year (1960–1980)period of economic growth made the country the global leader for cocoa-bean production; it ranked third for coffee.16 The production of cocoa, Ivory Coast’s major export in addition to coffee, cotton, and timber, went from 179,200 tons in 1970 to 555,100 in 1985 and reached 1.12 million tons in 1995.17 Cocoa national production reached 1.34 million tons in 2003–2004, including 1.06 million tons for exports, which represents 40 percent of global production. Unlike cocoa, coffee production fluctuated and did not remain on an upward slope (see Figures 2 and 3). After a period of growth between 1965 and 1970, production started falling between 1975 and 1980. This decline coincided with a period of recession and the fall commodity prices on the international market. The increase resumed briefly between 1985 and 1990, followed by a sharp fall in 1995 with about 194,960 tons. In the beginning of the 2000s, the production of coffee in the country peaked at 380,000 tons, and then declined over more than a decade of upheaval, particularly during the second (2010–2011) civil war with 94,370 tons in 2010 and 32,290 tons in 2011.

Figure 2. Chart of cocoa and coffee production in Côte d’Ivoire.

Source: FAOSTAT.

Figure 3. Chart of cocoa and coffee producer prices in Côte d’Ivoire.

Source: FAOSTAT.

From 1960 to 1990, the producer price of cocoa represented, on average, 50 percent of the Free on Board (FOB) price, but with regular and sharp fluctuations. Cocoa is mainly traded on the London and New York stock exchanges. These markets are very volatile and speculative, depending on factors such as stockouts, poor harvests, and climatic or political events. The Ivorian state, which gained wealth from export earnings on the sale of this raw material, regulated prices through stabilization funds or (Caisse de stabilisation et de soutien des prix des productions agricoles) to cope with price variations. According to Den Tuinder:

The Ivorian economy has developed in an atmosphere of controlled liberalism. It has been characterized by entrepreneurial freedom, with few physical controls and a favourable disposition toward foreign capital, labour, and expertise. The major credit for Ivory Coast’s impressive economic performance must go to the government, which has created an attractive atmosphere for investment.18

With a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $7,030 million in 1980, against $570 million in 1960 and a per capita income of $1150, the Ivory Coast was far ahead of most countries in the region and even across the continent. It possessed more than 619 industrial enterprises with a turnover of 650 billion Central African francs (FCFA), employing 67,443 workers, and distributing FCFA 75.2 billion in wages.19 With an annual growth rate of 5.7 percent, the proportion of foreigners rapidly increased to 22 percent in 1975 and later to 28 percent of the Ivorian population in 1988 (National Institute of Statistics [INS], 1988).20

Within the authoritarian single-party system established by Houphouët-Boigny, between 1960 and 1990, the Ivorian nation-state aimed to unify one people under one party, the PDCI, and under one leader, in order to achieve political stability and economic progress. To do so, Houphouët-Boigny built upon the colonial practice of utilizing ethnic categories in economic policy. More specifically, the state authorities implemented policies that ultimately benefited the Baoulé, Houphouët-Boigny’s own ethnic group, often at the expense of ethnic groups from the West. From 1969 to 1980, the government implemented programs such as the Aménagement de la Vallée du Bandama (AVB), which aimed to develop the Centre department, a territory of the Akan-Baoulé group. It also established the L'Autorité pour l'aménagement de la région du sud-ouest (ARSO), which aimed to develop the southwest.21 These programs served to resettle Baoulé villagers living in the savanna region of central Ivory Coast into rainforest regions in the southwest. The state took over indigenous people’s lands and allocated them to the Baoulé; it also created brand-new villages called “villages AVB” in the Soubré, Méagui, and San-Pédro regions. As a result, members of the Baoulé ethnic group came to control the lands of the western Ivory Coast due to postcolonial state policy.22 Under Houphouët-Boigny’s authoritarian regime, the indigenous Bété, Kroumen, and Bakoué groups did not have the capacity to protest and reject this resettlement of Baoulé people on their lands.

Pre-existing customary land tenure systems survived colonial rule and on into the postcolonial period, continuing to prevail in rural areas, despite the state’s modern laws. In villages, local populations arranged with foreigners based on the evolution of laborer work and access to land for food crops. Indeed, Ivorian economic success attracted many West African economic migrants, individually or in groups. In the early 1970s, cocoa farming drew large populations from the dry regions of Mali and Burkina Faso toward the Ivorian forest regions in the west and southwest. Those immigrants mostly settled in rural areas under the tutorat arrangements favored by Houphouétisme. The tutorat is a moral economy principle in western Ivory Coast wherein an indigenous landholder concedes a plot of land to an immigrant to meet basic needs in exchange for an undetermined and unlimited recognition of title.23

Houphouët-Boigny rationally encouraged the move of intranational migrants like Baoulé, Senufo and Malinké as well as West African immigrants mostly from the Upper Volta and Mali into the forest regions on a permanent basis to accelerate the development of the plantation economy. In order to achieve this, while leaning on the idea that people in the West resided near immense but unexploited and “vacant” forests, he declared in March 1963: “The land belongs to the person who exploits it.” Even though this claim had no basis in either traditional land-tenure principles or the country’s legal framework, the authoritarian regime’s declaration transformed the general understanding of rules about land ownership. First, misunderstandings regarding land-tenure relationships emerged and were fueled by the regular of land transactions without clear legal basis. Eventually, in the late 1980s, this situation placed pressure on pre-existing land-tenure agreements due to opposing interpretations of land-tenure agreements. For the indigenous people who offered land tenure (Bété, Kroumen, Bakoué, Dida and Guéré people) in the West, “the land was never sold,” but according to the internal migrants (Baoulé, Agni, and Sénoufo) and immigrants (Burkinabè and Malian) who took these offers up, “the land was bought.”

Second, the de facto rule about the vacant land made obsolete the customary rights of indigenous people, which had traditionally treated ownership of the land on a first-come, first-served basis, or awarded it to the founders of the settlement. In fact, the right to land ownership was henceforth acquired by work, which negated the previous norm of ancestral rights to lands. Although the principle of acquisition of land through work was never actually codified, after more than 20 years, it assumed legal force. For example, the Houphouëtian land principle allowed Houphouët-Boigny’s ethnic group the Baoulé and foreign nationals from West Africa (in particular Burkinabè) to control vast tracts of land in the west and south of the country. This economic development planned under ethnic lines resulted in social tensions that spilled over into the political arena.

Economic Crisis, National Identity, and Political Turmoil

As Samir Amin argues, the Ivorian economic miracle relied on an authoritarian regime which favored political tribalism and a corrupt bourgeoisie.24 This state-led capitalism failed mainly because it promoted the development of agriculture devoted to exporting raw products (cocoa, coffee, banana) and the importation of finished goods instead of industrialization or investment in food crops. In the late 1970s, this approach did not withstand the crisis on the international market and the prices of the country’s two main exportation crops, namely cocoa and coffee, dropped drastically. Although it was the leader in these sectors, Ivory Coast had no control over the setting of prices for these two products, which was regulated by the stock markets in London and New York. For cocoa, during the 1985–1989 recession, prices fell, banks cut funding for product purchases, and the sector fell apart. The price to the producer fell to FCFA 200/kg or even FCFA 150 during the 1989–1990 trading periodcompared with FCFA 250/kg or FCFA 300/kg during the previous decade.25 Houphouët-Boigny tried to push up prices by means of what was known as the “cocoa war” in 1988, when he attempted to stop the export of cocoa beans to Europe. Due to the depreciation of prices, at the beginning of the 1980s Ivory Coast entered a period of economic crise through the Structural Adjustment Programs (SAP) dictated by the Bretton Woods institutions. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forced the Ivorian government to withdraw state support from nonproductive segments such as education and health. On the other hand, the government had to privatize public companies like the Energie Electrique de Côte d’Ivoire (EECI), SODESUCRE (Society for the Promotion of Sugarcane), and structures in the agriculture sectors like the CAISTAB, which helped to regulate highly fluctuating coffee and cocoa prices in order to improve farmer’s incomes.26

By the end of the 1980s, the SAP privatization program had created more disturbance than solutions, triggering massive protests against the unpopular austerity measures that had dismantled and closed down parastatal and many other public services. In addition, fiscal restraint forced the state to reduce public investment spending from 18 percent of GDP in 1980 to 11 percent in 1983.27 It dismissed workers, blocked wages, reduced the number of contract agents, stopped new recruitment in the public service, reduced or eliminated subsidies, cut operating budgets, and so on. Poverty become widespread and affected both the middle classes and the poorest. By 1998, the poverty rate had reached 33.6 percent of the population, according to a United Nation Development Program (UNDP) report. Later, with the crisis that began in 2002, the impoverishment of the population deepened. In 2009, according to the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) produced by the Ivorian government and required by the IMF and the Word Bank in order for the country to qualify for debt relief, poverty continued to rise and reached a new record, with 48.9 percent of the population living in poverty. In the same year, the national unemployment rate rose to an estimated 15.7 percent of the working population, according to the INS. Unemployment had already reached around 15 percent of the active population in 1989.28 In sum, the job market has not improved since then; instead, austerity measures increased unemployment, as many workers lost their jobs, while the recruitment of new university graduates was frozen.

Ivory Coast was hit by the combination of internal forces and external unexpected events. While popular discontent was growing internally due to the deterioration of social and economic livelihoods, in the wake of the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the Baule conference in France in 1990 imposed the multiparty system on francophone Africa. In Ivory Coast, the injunction signaled that the end was nigh for the long reign of Houphouët-Boigny's single-party regime and meant that the increasing demands for democracy would at last be fulfilled. Economic difficulties prompted Ivorians to call for political change and democratic governance. With the failure of solutions he had implemented to deal with the economic crisis, Houphouët-Boigny summoned an expert from the realm of international finance to lead the restructuring program. Thus in 1989, Alassane Dramane Ouattara, a senior economist at the IMF Africa Department and unknown in the Ivorian political arena, was publicly introduced to Ivorians for the first time. Upon his arrival, he was propelled to the position of prime minister. His mission was to carry out economic restructuring that would end the economic crisis before it led to the kind of social and political upheaval that could end the long reign of the PDCI. Indeed, although its power had weakened, the old one-party regime still firmly held the reins of political power as it had essentially seized the economy’s remaining resources and controlled the army.

Tasked with solving the country’s economic issues and generating more revenues for the public treasury, Alassane Ouattara designed and implemented Law No. 90-437 of May 29, 1990, relating to immigration laws in Ivory Coast. This code, which instituted a new document, a residence card for immigrants, affected not only his own fate but also that of the entire Ivorian nation. The introduction of the card triggered degrading and repressive treatment of foreigners, and especially immigrants from West Africa, at the hands of law-enforcement officers and the general population. At the time the card was introduced, because of the economic crisis West African immigrants were already stigmatized and often accused of controlling large sectors of the national economy, including the cultivation of cocoa and coffee in the west of the country.29 The residence card made the differences between Ivorian and foreigners conspicuous. This document challenged Houphouët-Boigny’s inclusive immigration policy. As many West Africans were trying to cope with the sudden difficulties presented by new immigration rules, the violence and inequitable actions against them spread to affect Ivorians in the north. This was because they shared the same cultural idioms (religion, names, trade traditions, language) as their West African immigrant-neighbors. This whole community of “gens du Nord” was targeted in the mid-1990s when Ouattara decided to go beyond the primarily economic mission assigned him by Houphouët-Boigny and aspired to become president of the republic.

Meanwhile, on the social front riots erupted, especially in the educational sector. For a long time, schools and universities had been a social and political hub for dissidents who opposed the single-party PDCI and its substructure Mouvement des elèves et étudiants de Côte d’Ivoire (MEECI). Unions such as the La Fédération estudiantine et scolaire de Côte d'Ivoire (FESCI) and the Syndicat national de la recherche et de l’enseignement supérieur (SYNARES) emerged and led social movements for political change. After months of protest, on May 3, 1990, per article 7 of the Constitution of 1960, the sick, aging, and weakened Houphouët-Boigny authorized legal recognition of new political parties after thirty-three years of the single-party system (1957–1990). Ivory Coast thus revived the multiparty system it had first experienced at the end of the colonial era (1946–1957). With this “democratic spring,” several parties like the Front populaire ivoirien (FPI), Union des Sociaux Democrates (USD), and the Parti ivoirien des travailleurs (PIT) which were operating clandestinely, found a place in the political arena. The advent of a multiparty system, however, did not come with democracy in terms of liberties (expression and public media) and change of regime in power. The still-dominant former state party, PDCI, resisted change and tightened its hold on state institutions to maintain its power. For example, the party refused to establish impartial electoral institutions to guarantee fair and equal presidential and legislative elections. The first-ever multiparty presidential election took place on October 28, 1990. Houphouët-Boigny was opposed by the then-leader of the opposition Laurent Gbagbo, who ran despite the opposition parties’ agreement to boycott the poll. After gaining only 18 percent of the vote, Gbagbo and his party the FPI accused the PDCI of using the votes of West African immigrants, who had been allowed to vote since 1980, to steal the election. The FPI then took a nationalist stance and called foreigners to be made ineligible to vote in national elections.

As of 1990, Ivory Coast entered a period of political paradox that inaugurated the advent of both democracy and a narrow ethnonationalism.30 When Houphouët-Boigny died in December 1993, former president of the National Assembly Konan Bédié succeeded him as president. The following year, Bédié, who wanted to establish a long-term reign, deployed ethnic-based policies grounded in the ideology of ivoirité. Bédié defined ivoirité as:

A unifying concept, the foundation on which the Ivoirian nation must rest. Ivoirité constitutes primarily an identification framework emphasizing values specific to Ivoirian society, but also a framework for integrating the primary ethnic components which gave birth to Ivory Coast and which incorporates all those external factors which have been cast in the mold of shared destiny.31

According to this cultural picture, for Bédié’s followers and ideologues of his narrow nationalist philosophy, indigenous status is the main criterion for national identity and access to related rights in a nation founded on blood relationships. However, critics saw it as the distillation of a policy of ethnic, religious, and xenophobic exclusion enshrined in amendments to Article 49 of the Electoral Act in 1994. Mike McGovern describes ivoirité as an intellectual apparatus that gave pseudo-intellectual justification to the exclusion of whole demographic groups from political power—especially those that originated in the north and/or had ethnic bonds with other West African ethnic groups.32

The manipulation of ethnicity to develop and implement policies strongly leaned on horizontal inequalities. President Bédié offered more and more political influence and economic privilege to his own Baoulé ethnic group by predominantly appointing Baoulé individuals to upper–level political-administrative posts as well as top-ranking military positions. Throughout his presidency, which lasted from 1993 to 1999, the overrepresentation of the group in positions of power significantly increased, as Bédié allocated more than 40 percent of key political positions to the Baoulé.33 In this political environment, the most important political positions and institutions (government and parliament) were controlled by one dominant ethnic group.34 By means of the control of the main political institutions, the ivoirité ideology not only helped the Baoulé retain the real decision-making power but also served to regulate the access to and ownership of economic and social resources based on ethnic origins.

One of the policies driven by ivoirité was the Rural Land Act 98–750 of December 23, 1998, which tied the right of land ownership to the identity of the land user. As stated above in the section entitled “From Colonial Exploitation Policies toPcolonial ‘Houphouétisme,’” for many years prior to this Act, the practice of tutorat practice functioned as a traditional and legitimately regulated means of managing intra- and intercommunal land relationships.35 By the end of the 1980s, however, the de facto tutorat-based land tenure was in crisis and started to be renegotiated. Previous land tenure agreements and policies were challenged, and latent tensions turned into open conflicts among indigenous groups (Guéré, Bété, Bakoué, Dida, and Kroumen), national migrants (mostly Baoulé), and transnational migrants (Burkinabè, Malians, and Guineans).36 In response to the escalation of land conflicts in the late 1990s, the government initiated the Rural Land Act.

Early in 1998, the government drafted a bill related to rural lands and sent it to parliament. The preparation of this law gave rise to a greater influence on the rural electorate from two state institutions. First, within Parliament, most representatives required that the new law stand firm against foreigners by tying land ownership to nationality. In addition, they demanded that the customary rights of indigenous people be recognized and included in that law. The bill was interpreted alternately, according to the political interests of different parties, either as an official recognition of the customary rights of landowners and traditional authorities or as a law protecting the rights of all land users. In rural communities, indigenous people voiced their determination to seek recognition of customary rights. Second, in October 1998, a state institution, the conseil economic et social (CES), issued an alarming report that denounced the growing power of immigrants in Ivory Coast. The report presented this alleged domination by foreigners of certain economic sectors (agriculture in rural areas and informal activities such as small businesses in city streets) and control of land as a threat to national identity. It concluded that “the number of foreigners has exceeded the tolerable threshold.” Following this reasoning, members of the CES called for the Ivorian nation to be “saved.” As a result, in December 1998, representatives of all political parties unanimously approved the new Rural Land Act.37 As proof of their accord with traditional rulers, the representatives defined the intentions of the nationalist Land Act in the very first article of the law:

Section I: Definition

Article I: The Rural Land Area consists of all land developed land or not and regardless of the nature of the development. It is a national heritage, which any physical or legal company can access. However, only the State, public authorities, and Ivorian individuals are allowed to own it.

In the aftermath of the Act’s passage, an on-the-ground crisis ensued. Rather than easing ethnic tensions, the Act escalated conflicts from an interethnic to a national scale, setting Ivoirians against foreign nationals. In practice, the 1998 Land Act provided legal justification for customary authorities to expel people considered “outsiders,” including internal migrants such as the Baoulé and Senufo, and West Africans.38 For example, during the land conflicts that broke out in 1998 in Zoukougbeu (central-west region) between Niaboua and Baoulés and in Irobo (on the south coast) between Dida and Baoulés, local chiefdoms attempted to expel the Baoulés, who they considered to be foreigners on their lands. On November 13, 1999, this approach led to the expulsion of more than 20,000 Burkinabè farmers during a conflict between them and the indigenous Krou in Tabou.39

At the political level, the fight opposed the FPI’s nationalists to the PDCI’s neoliberals while awakening and igniting the ethnic competition for power that Houphouët-Boigny’s charisma had stifled during his reign. In addition to transforming the ethnic composition of the state institutions, ivoirité influenced the modification of the electoral code. In 1994, under the Bédié administration, access to political power was made conditional on ethnic identity. The new electoral code 94–642 of December 13, 1994, stipulated per its article 49 that only Ivorians whose parents were both of Ivorian origin could run for presidential elections. Following this turn, Ouattara left the PDCI and took the leadership of the newly formed Rassemblement des Républicains (RDR) in 1994. After taking away foreigners’ rights to vote, President Bédié used the immigrants’ residence card that had been created by Ouattara to conflate West Africans with Ivorian northerners and deny the latter group political rights. To prevent Ouattara from running for the presidency, Bédié pushed this narrow nationalism further and accused him of being a foreigner, specifically a Burkinabè.40

Later in 1998, Bédié proposed an electoral bill to enable him to reign for his whole lifetime. The president established institutional mechanisms to keep political power in the grip of his own ethnic group, the Baoulé. The proposed constitutional amendments not only ended limits on the number of terms a president could serve but also extended presidential terms from five to seven years.41 Furthermore, the Ivorian president reserved the right to appoint one third of the members of the future Senate. These provisions opened the door to limitless Baoulé power, with President Bédié controlling the administration and military institutions without constitutional restrictions.42 Considering themselves the main targets and victims of the discriminatory policies inspired by ivoirité, the people of the north organized and launched the “Charte du Nord,” which aimed to gather people and forces of the northern region to fight for their rights.43

The First Coup d’État and Its Aftermath

In contrast to most of the countries in West Africa, which were hit by instability, coups d’état, and wars during the three decades after independence, Ivory Coast had enjoyed a relatively long period of uninterrupted economic growth and political stability. However, in the 1990s, the country experienced increasingly community conflicts and political troubles that escalated into its first coup in 1999. In the wake of opposition demonstrations led by the RDR, on October 29, 1999, the top-ranked members of that party were arrested and thrown in prison. Tensions mounted when Bédié tried to arrest Ouattara and disclosed an international warrant that charged the latter with fraud and false declaration of his nationality. At the same time, protests arose within the military about the alleged diversion of funds. On December 24, 1999, these soldiers took to the streets and turned their protest into a coup d’état the next day. Konan Bédié was overthrown and General Robert Guéi took power. With this coup, the country, which had been politically stable for almost forty years, entered a long period of political turmoil.

A ten-month military and political transitional government was set up to organize the 2000 presidential elections. Although the transitional government included the major political parties, in particular Laurent Gbagbo’s FPI and Alassane Ouattara’s RDR, the political ambitions of these leaders and partisan interests, as well as political intrigues against a backdrop of ethnic discrimination, brought up new tensions and divisions. First, despite his pledge to hand over power to civilians, General Guéi ran for the presidency. Second, in order to retain power, he played with the legal framework by organizing a constitutional referendum. Rather than wiping out existing divisions, nationalists trying to safeguard political power from so-called foreigners’ greed gave rise to the controversial debate of “and” and “or.”44 Contradictory arguments supported whether Article 35 should stipulate that the presidential candidate must be born of an Ivorian father “and” an Ivorian mother, or an Ivorian father “or” an Ivorian mother. The question was, thus, how to lawfully demonstrate the Ivorian nationality of candidates whose parents had been born before the Ivorian first nationality code of 1961. On July 23, 2000, the republic’s second constitution, including the clause with the “and,” was approved by more than 80 percent of voters. The constitution not only legitimized the victory of the “and” faction, but strengthened the restrictions on eligibility for the presidency, which eliminated Ouattara from the presidential race. Henceforth, to be a presidential candidate, one’s father “and” mother must both be Ivorian by birth.

After the Baoulé’s domination of the political arena by means of Houphouët-Boigny and Henri Konan Bédié from 1960 to 1999, the coup and the 2000 constitution offered the opportunity for the people of the west to seize power. In October 2000, both Bédié, who had remained in exile since his loss of power, and Ouattara were prohibited from entering the presidential race by the Constitutional Council chaired by a native of the west, Judge Tia Koné. The former was denied for submitting faulty paperwork; the second for “questionable nationality.” Thus, the October 2000 presidential election pitted two candidates from the west against each other; namely Laurent Gbagbo of the FPI and Robert Guéi, who had no political party. The election ended in confusion when Robert Guéi proclaimed himself the “winner” and Laurent Gbagbo called his supporters to take to the streets in protest. During the post-electoral crisis, supporters of Ouattara mingled with those street protestors, but instead demanded resumption of the electoral process and that Ouattara should be allowed to stand as a candidate. After days of extreme violence that left many dead in the capital Abidjan, Robert Guéi gave up power. Laurent Gbagbo then came to power after more than thirty years in opposition. However, this victory was stained with blood, which became especially clear after the discovery of a mass grave of fifty-seven corpses, known as the “Charnier de Yopougon.” This atrocity sealed the fate of Gbagbo’s regime for the grave allegedly contained only Senufo, Dioula and Burkinabe dead.

When Gbagbo took power in 2000, he organized a forum of national reconciliation that aimed to put an end to the social and political crisis through dialogue, truth, and pardon. While playing the card of reconciliation and political pacification by facilitating the return of both the PDCI’s Bédié and the RDR’s Ouattara and setting up a government of national unity, Gbagbo, a member of the Bété group, did not refrain from using ethnic tactics. In fact, his combination of ethnic narrative and national policies from 2000 to 2010 exacerbated the horizontal inequalities that had influenced those very policies. According to Armin Langer, “Gbagbo allocated most government positions to his own party, the FPI and people of his ethnic group among the military.”45 Therefore, the political influence of the Krou ethnic group, of which the Bété are a subset, increased. The Krou became the most important political force, controlling more than 55 percent of top political positions, and accounting for twenty of the twenty-eight ministers in the government formed in January 2001.

Despite these ethnic controls over the administrative and political sphere, Gbagbo did not refrain from utilizing further divisive ivoirité-inspired policies. His administration attempted to “clean up” the état-civil (birth registration) to solve the problem of fraudulent identity documents (birth and nationality certificates). In 2001, the government created the Office National d’Identification (ONI) to reorganize the état-civil and regulate the immigration and emigration of populations. In spite of the normative goal of managing the état-civil effectively, the ONI interpreted its mandate under Law 2002-3 of January 3, 2002, as including the power to investigate, research, and confirm the citizenship status of the general population at large. Based on this law, the government decided to undertake a general census of the population. The implementation measures required claimants of birth and nationality certificates go to their villages of origin for public hearings about their parents. The government’s discriminatory policy was aggravated by the tightening of the criteria of national identity to an ethnic territory as restrictive as the village of origin.

Rebellion and Postelectoral War

Such measures, which were considered discriminatory by a large portion of the population, increased tensions between Gbagbo’s government and opposition parties, mainly the RDR of Alassane Ouattara. After he failed to run for the October presidential election, Ouattara was excluded from the legislative elections of December 2000 on the same grounds of suspect nationality. His party was accused of recruiting immigrants to participate fraudulently in the national elections. In the Ivorian political realm, the parties opposed to Ouattara have always conflated “foreigners” with Ivorian citizens from the northern part of the country. As we have seen, this is because in the 1980s some West Africans, who shared cultural characteristics, and especially names with Ivorian northerners, had been allowed to vote in Ivory Coast by Houphouët-Boigny. During the violence that broke out in Abidjan following Ouattara’s exclusion, many of his supporters as well as West African immigrants were chased, beaten, and arrested. Therefore, the Senufo, Malinké, and those colloquially called the Dioula, as much as immigrants from Mali and Burkina Faso, suffered from attacks and xenophobic discourse and violence. Later in January 2001, a group of military officers from the north who shared Ouattara’s frustration attempted to overthrow Gbagbo’s government. While some of the soldiers were arrested and jailed, others managed to flee and found refuge in neighboring Burkina Faso, where they fomented another coup under the leadership of Corporal Coulibaly Ibrahim, aka “IB.”46

On September 18, 2002, that putsch failed but turned into a rebellion under the banner of the Mouvement patriotique de Côte d’Ivoire (MPCI) and plunged Ivory Coast into its first civil war. According to Guillaume Soro, the leader of MPCI, the rebels took up arms to claim their citizenship in the form of their national identity cards (Carte nationale d’Identité, or CNI), which were denied to them. Moreover, the rebels claimed they were fighting because of the loss of confidence in the political system and their exclusion from the political process, alluding to Ouattara’s exclusions from national elections. Violence and exile under the regimes of Robert Guéi and Laurent Gbagbo had fueled their efforts to establish a new social and political order by armed rebellion. From October 2002 to April 2011, the country was divided into two parts, with the north, about 60 percent of the territory, controlled by the MPCI, while the south remained under the legal power of Laurent Gbagbo’s government and army. The French troops who had been posted in the country since 1960 with the blessing of Houphouët-Boigny quickly established a ceasefire and erected a nonarmed area called the “Zone de confiance” (ZDC), which separated the north from the south. As of March 2003, the French operation “Licorne” was soon associated with the United Nations (UN) peacekeepers in the ZDC; the operation began in the wake of the first related to this conflict, the “Accord de Marcoussis,” signed in France between the rebels and the major Ivorian political parties on January 26, 2003.

Marcoussis failed due to the belligerents’ misinterpretation of its wording. In the wake of this failure, several unsuccessful agreements followed including Accra I and II, and Pretoria I. However, those that have made the most progress are the Accord de Pretoria II in 2005 and the Accord politique de Ouagadougou (APO) in 2007. All tried to fix the issue of nationality by urging the new government of national reconciliation to introduce bills in parliament to grant Ivorian nationality to those who had been deprived of it by the restrictive Code of 1972 and the census of 2001. The agreements, especially the APO, also dealt with the security issue but failed to establish a compelling program of disarming the belligerent forces, mostly made up of rebels. As a result, the rebels never dropped their guns, even during the 2010 presidential election. Most importantly, the participants in the peace talks agreed that all candidates must be allowed by law to run for the presidency. This measure aimed at resolving, once and for all, the issue of Ouattara’s eligibility. The issue had divided the Ivorian political scene for decades. However, this matter was not resolved until the agreement signed on April 6, 2005, in Pretoria, when President Gbagbo agreed to issue an executive order to allow all candidates, including Ouattara, to run for president.

Despite this progress in the peacebuilding process, the 2005 elections did not take place, mostly because disarmament failed, and the constitution does not allow an election during a state of war. So President Gbagbo’s term was extended by UN Security Council resolution 1633. Gbagbo would remain in power until the next election. After two years of no progress in resolving the conflict, Laurent Gbagbo initiated another plan to end the crisis, through “direct dialogue” with the former rebels. The main characteristic of this plan was to dismiss the international community, namely France and the UN, from the talks, which took place in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, where the rebels had originally planned their coup. On April 3, 2007, the APO was signed; the agreement was based on establishing a new transitional government, eliminating the ZDC, and gradually withdrawing foreign troops. In the wake of the APO, Soro Guillaume, the leader of the former rebels (whose organization was renamed Forces armées des forces nouvelles, or FAFN), was appointed by Gbagbo as the new prime minister. His government had two primary missions: disarmament and the organization of inclusive, free, and fair elections in 2010.

After a long peacebuilding process endorsed by France and the UN (Accord de Marcoussis), and later facilitated by Burkina Faso (APO), the presidential election was held in October 2010. Unfortunately, this election did not bring peace to Ivory Coast. Both Ouattara and Gbagbo claimed victory. Although the 2010 presidential election in Ivory Coast had been supported and certified by the UN, this did enable it to avoid a postelectoral crisis. First, despite the warning from a mission report in September 2010 about massive weapon purchases by both armies, the UN had failed to pressure for the total disarmament of combatants before the election. Second, the ingredients for the blocking of the electoral process were gathered because the two key electoral institutions were controlled by the two opposing parties, respectively. On the one hand, the Commission electorale independent (CEI) was chaired and dominated by members of the opposition coalition, known as called the Rassemblement des Houphouëtistes pour la démocratie et la paix (RHDP). On the other hand, the Constitutional Council was stacked and chaired by members of Gbagbo’s party FPI and the coalition in power called La Majorité présidentielle (LMP). Ouattara, supported by the RHPD, based his claim of victory (54.1 percent of votes cast) on the UN-certified runoff results announced by the CEI, controlled by the opposition coalition. Gbagbo, in turn, appealed the CEI decision to the Constitutional Council. This institution annulled the poll results in seven northern departments because of irregularities and violence and proclaimed Gbagbo president, ruling that he had received 51.5 percent of votes against 48.6 percent for Ouattara. However, most of the international community, which endorsed the certification process and the CEI poll results as accurate and authoritative, demanded Gbagbo step down. Gbagbo’s resistance to the injunction and pressure of the international community, especially the UN Secretary-General, led to the postelection crisis.

The postelection crisis turned into a second civil war, which lasted from December 2010 until April 2011. A Ouattara and the former rebel forces reunited under the FAFN, and the traditional northern hunters known as the “Dozo” organized military action. During the war, president-elect Ouattara decreed that two armies, the Forces de défense et de securité (FDS) and the FAFN, be merged into a new army under the name “Forces republicaines de Côte d’Ivoire” (FRCI), through executive order 2011-002 of March 17, 2011.47 This new military force received decisive assistance from French and UN troops.48 Fighting then broke out between the FRCI and FDS, who had remained loyal to the incumbent Laurent Gbagbo. By April 2011, the war had left not only about 3,000 dead and a million displaced, but also created deep social and political wounds and divisions between the two communities, two armies, two groups of victims, and two groups of supporters, who were colloquially labeled “pro-Ouattara” and “pro-Gbagbo.” Alassane Ouattara officially took power in May 2011, having arrested Gbagbo and occupied most of the country. In 2012, the National Commission of Investigation established by the new president by decree 2011–176 of July 2011 reported 15, 597 had been killed by both armies during the postelectoral war.

Postwar Reconstruction: “Ethnic Rattrapage” and Human Rights Concerns

The centrality of ethnic identity to national policy continues to inform Ivorian society under the postwar regime, albeit in a new form that favors a different group. The new political ethnicity pertains to the injuries suffered by Alassane Ouattara and people of the north under previous regimes over several decades. Under Bédié, in 1998, only 3 percent of the government ministers were of Northern Senufo/Dioula origin. During the military transition period (1999–2000) and the regime of Gbagbo (2000–2010), northern representation decreased further. This reduction occurred because RDR party, which is mostly made up of northerners, was excluded from the government as of May 2000, to which it responded by boycotting the legislative elections in December 2000. This underrepresentation served to cement and strengthen the ethnic identities of people who, like Ouattara, shared a common sense of exclusion or victimization. Many had been denied documentation such as passports, identification cards, or nationality certificates.

Influenced by the past two decades of history, when President Ouattara finally took power in 2011, he developed the concept of “ethnic rattrapage,” a discriminatory preference that aimed to repair the injustices against people from northern Ivory Coast.49 The ideology of “ethnic rattrapage” promulgates the domination of two northerner ethnic groups—Dioula and Senufo—over all others. It undermines any political and economic balance among different ethnic groups and regions and serves to limit access to privileges to people from the other groups. For the last seven years, the laws developed by the Ouattara administration have been driven by this ideology of ethnic preference and privilege being awarded to one dominant group. Accordingly, the boards of institutions (government, parliament, Supreme Court, army, etc.), public companies, and offices in his administration are led by, or disproportionately composed of, northerners, especially Senufo and Dioula people. Individuals from the north occupy over half the higher positions in public administration, political institutions, and the national army. For instance, the president, the prime minister, the president of the parliament, the president of the electoral committee, the president of the Constitutional Council (highest court), the general chief of the army, and the director of the national television and radio stations, as well as several directors of national banks and universities, are all Senufo and Dioula.50

Moreover, Ouattara developed policies that gave priority to northerners and immigrants. The president began with political reforms that allotted significant representation to northern regions in parliament, as most of his supporters in his RDR party are northerners. Just a few weeks before the legislative election of December 2011, the government made several modifications to electoral constituencies. These included new electoral divisions, which significantly increased the size of certain regions and departments, and ultimately the number of northern representatives.51 Altogether, the north alone is made up of twenty-six departments for sixty parliamentary seats for an electoral population that totals 770,627 individuals. The imbalance is astonishing when this area is compared to Abidjan, the capital, which has just twenty-seven seats for an electoral population of 1,754,050 individuals.52 Consequently, after the election, more than 60 percent of representatives were from the north.

With total control of parliament, President Ouattara introduced bills to secure land rights for immigrants. The president successfully pushed for new laws amending the 1998 Rural Land Act and simultaneously defining nationality and statelessness. Amendments to the 1998 Rural Land Act led to more land rights to “foreigners.” In August 2013, an amendment to the previous 1998 Land Act implicitly gave immigrant landholders time—a ten-year grace period—to secure their land rights disputed by autochthons in rural areas. This implied leniency is reinforced by the modification of the Nationality Code that followed simultaneously, in August 2013. The Code was modified by introducing the law 2013-653 of September 13, 2013, on the acquisition of nationality by declaration and the amending of several articles, including:53

Article 1: This law is intended to establish a special regime for the acquisition of citizenship for persons falling within the categories defined in Article 2. These beneficiaries can claim Ivorian nationality by the procedure of the declaration under the conditions stated by the following article:

Article 2: Enjoying the provisions of this Act are persons belonging to one of the following categories: Individuals who were born in Ivory Coast of foreign parents and were under twenty-one years of age on December 20, 1961; persons ordinarily resident without interruption in Ivory Coast on August 7, 1960, and their children born in Ivory Coast; people born in Ivory Coast between December 20, 1961, and January 25, 1973, to foreign parents and their children.

The amendments which simplified the procedure for obtaining citizenship fueled controversies, including in the National Assembly. The first section of these amendments suppressed restrictions of the previous law 72–852 of December 1972 that had prevented migrant individuals from requesting straightforward Ivorian nationality. The second significant change was that now, any individual (woman or man) of foreign nationality who married an Ivorian would acquire Ivorian nationality at the time of their marriage. This new article allowed more than 400,000 foreigners, mostly from West Africa, to acquire Ivorian nationality immediately. For these new citizens, having Ivorian nationality gave them access to land property rights. Furthermore, the 2016 Constitution, initiated by President Ouattara and adopted on October 30, 2016, reinforces the rights of foreigners over land. Article 12 of this Constitution stipulates: “Only the State, local authorities and Ivorian physical persons can access rural land ownership. Acquired rights are guaranteed.” To its political opponents, the “Acquired rights” clause appeared to be a way to grant land rights to the 3–4 million Burkinabè living in Ivory Coast, the majority of whom derive their daily pittance from working rural land. In western rural regions, immigrant farmers hailed this clause, understanding it as the legal acknowledgment and protection of their rights on the land they had been occupying and working on for many years.

Relative to amending the Nationality Code, President Ouattara pled on behalf of people who had lived in Ivory Coast for a long time without citizenship and urged parliament to grant them Ivorian nationality. In August 2013, his government sent a bill before the National Assembly to address the problem of statelessness. It was quickly adopted, despite the considerable proportion of the population that wanted a public debate on the issue. On August 19, 2013, the government filed two “urgent procedure” bills with parliament to enable the ratification of two international conventions: one to fight against statelessness, the other to strengthen the rights of stateless persons by granting them identity documents.54 However, many questions about the actual beneficiaries of the bills, the number of individuals affected, and the political implications of these moves failed to elicit satisfactory answers. For instance, the government’s representative offered no consistent responses providing accurate statistics on the number of people who might benefit from such eligibility, that is, those who were currently stateless persons.

Despite these criticisms, the presidential party, the RDR, supported and voted for the bill. President Ouattara’s opponents argued that policies aiming to grant Ivorian nationality to foreigners, mostly Burkinabè, were in fact, a political strategy to improve his chances in the 2015 presidential election. This strategy aimed to furnish him with a much-expanded body of constituents whose ethnicity, like his own, was broader based than that of the typical voter previously. In fact, with the new law 2013–653 of September 13, 2013, about 25,000 stateless individuals originating from Burkina Faso and living in seven villages in the western regions of Bouaflé, an opposition area, would be granted Ivorian nationality along with the immediate right to vote for the 2015 presidential election. At the same time, according to a 2013 estimate by the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the total number of people targeted by this measure had the potential to reach 950,000. In any case, taking these statistics into consideration, it appeared that these policies would mean that the ruling RDR would gain power by gaining a significant number of new voters, who would presumably support the party that had granted them citizenship.55

Although the new government entered the postwar era with a program of peaceful reconciliation and the reconstruction of Ivorian democracy, the opposition, as well as some civil society leaders, would become victims of political restrictions and one-sided justice. According to Amnesty International in 2016, arbitrary arrests and detentions of Gbagbo supporters continued. In 2017–2018 more than 200 people, mostly members of opposition parties and civil society organizations, had been in prison for years awaiting a trial.56 At the beginning of his term, President Ouattara pledged that there would be no place for impunity and that justice would be served for all as an instrument of national reconciliation. However, only former President Laurent Gbagbo, his wife Simone Gbagbo, former Minister of Youth, Charles Blé Goudé, and many of his supporters and military have been tried in Ivory Coast and before the International criminal court (ICC).57 On the other hand, reports on the Ivorian civil war by many international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), as well as the 2012 report of the National Commission of Investigation, have provided details and identified those who had allegedly carried out orders to commit massacres on behalf of the Forces Republicaines de Cote d’Ivoire (FRCI) and the traditional hunters from the north called “Dozo.”58 Nevertheless, to date, those alleged perpetrators who had sided with President Alassane Ouattara and are said to have committed war crimes have neither been prosecuted nor arrested.

Discussion of the Literature

The three-volume Houphouët-Boigny, published in 2003 by the journalist and historian Frédérique Grah Mel, is a great piece of literature about the country’s first president, and its leader for the first forty years of its existence. Since the political life of this great and unique figure is so conflated with the evolution of the country, this book is not only the biography of an individual but also the whole history of the nation he governed. It recounts how at the beginning of independence in the 1960s, Houphouët-Boigny disagreed with his African counterparts such as Sékou Touré of Guinea, Senghor Sedar of Sénégal, and Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana. He also challenged them on the idea that the newly independent nations needed the support and involvement of the former colonial power supports to develop and achieve their potential.59 He made good on his promises, overseeing the transformation of his country’s economy and its a rapid growth. There have been major scholarly works such as those by Marcel Amondji, Francois Ruf, and Samir Amin, who analyzed how, despite the setbacks of Ivorian dictatorial one-party system, the system of state-led capitalism and the influence of the bourgeoisie, the country still experienced a so-called economic “miracle” in the 1970s.60

In contrast to most West African countries like Ghana, Mali, Togo, Benin, Liberia, Guinea, and Burkina Faso, which were hit by poverty, coups d’état, and wars after independence, Ivory Coast enjoyed consistent economic growth and political stability. However, less attention has been brought to the economic stagnation of that period. A recent book, African Miracle, African Mirage: Transnational Politics and the Paradox of Modernization in Ivory Coast (2016) by Abou Bamba fills in that gap and portrays the astonishing historical and international dimensions of the country’s economic downfall or “mirage.” In the 1990s and 2000s, while countries like Ghana hae experienced a sustained economic recovery and successful democratic transition, conversely, Ivory Coast conversely suffered from economic crisis, ethnic divisions, and coups d’état, and was ravaged by a bitter civil war in 2010.

Ivory Coast, like many African states, has gone through cycles of hope and disappointment, euphoria and disillusionment, development and crisis, and democratization and war over the last fifty years.61 An extensive literature discusses the crisis of the Ivorian economy by pointing out the limits of its agro-export model.62 Most studies, however have not carried out a detailed evaluation of the strengths and limits of the model and its links with the subsequent political and social turmoil that ensued.63 However, one major work, Le modèle ivoirien en question, crises, ajustement, recompositions, edited by Memel-Fotê and Contamin and published in 1997, captured the multidimensional and multisectorial causes of the Ivorian crisis.64 The contributors to the volume saw the political and economic crisis of the 1990s as rooted in the economic mirage that René Dumont had critiqued at the dawn of independence in his well-known book, L’Afrique noire est mal partie.65

Other research has focused more attention on of the problems caused by authoritarian management of power by individuals and by the social context. Francis Akindès’ monograph on the roots of the Ivorian crisis is a significant contribution that reveals the prominent role played by the first president, Houphouët-Boigny, and his legacy in the country’s economic, social, and political crises. It aids us in understanding the three pillars of what is known as “Houphouétisme.”66 The sociological construction of this concept refers to Houphouët-Boigny’s ingenious balance of his own political background and ethnicity with his overt policies and discourses about the inclusion of immigrants in the economy and Ivorian society. The term also refers to Houphouët-Boigny’s patrimonial management of state power in a manner that ingeniously combined traditional and modern rules. The breakdown of the social and political compromise established by “Houphouétisme” evolved dramatically; from economic tensions and fights over resources, especially land, to military and political conflicts on ethnic lines. While Akindès acclaims the first president’s political ingenuity, he fails to acknowledge the drawbacks of his major land-management policies. Otch-Akpa demonstrates how the principle of land ownership through labor introduced by Houphouët-Boigny was a critical turn, which disrupted the economic and social order.67 It put land at the heart of community conflicts but also placed immigration as one of the pillars of the development approach. Researchers like Jean-Pierre Chauveau, Catherine Boone, and Mamadou Zongo underscore how the multiplication of deadly land conflicts in rural areas revealed the ethnic facet of the economic crisis at the end of the 1980s.68 Le Vine has written a compelling analysis of how the charisma of the state’s father-founder and his use of the political dimensions of ethnicity played a crucial role in public policymaking in the postcolonial period.69 Eventually, the perversion of Houphouët-Boigny’s governance into a personalistic, materialistic, and authoritarian regime turned political institutions and their policies into ethnicity-based instruments for the domination of one ethnic group.70

The cultural and ideological underpinnings of policy in Ivory Coast demonstrate how the state advances the traditions and prerogatives of the native, of indigenousness, and nationality as the nuts and bolts of policies affecting and defining citizenship. Works by Jeanne Toungara, Ruth Marshall-Fratani, Mike McGovern, and Abu Bakkar Bah have provided the most compelling psychological, sociological and political explanations of the divisive concept and ideology of ivoirité, which embodied the ethnic turn in the political debate and raised the question of who qualified for Ivorian citizenship after the Houphouët-Boigny era.71 However, Catherine Boone looks further in her analysis of the relationship between ethnicity and territoriality. She demonstrates that autochthonous status became a powerful instrument by means of which to examine land ownership, nationality, and citizenship.72 It is particularly intriguing that this dangerous and discriminatory ideology, which predominantly pushes the affective and/or emotional dimensions of identity and loyalty, arose in an era of democracy. Likewise, one might wonder how these struggles over national identity, migration, and citizenship in Ivory Coast came to appear in an age of refugees and immigrants and after the genocide in Rwanda and the end of apartheid in South Africa.

Notable studies tried to warn against the dangerous ethnic turn in the history of the country when institutions such as the Conseil Economique et Social and the National Assembly conceived discriminatory rhetoric and policies. A very critical article by Moriba Touré demonstrated how political and institutional leaders’ rhetoric about overwhelming levels of immigration to Ivory Coast was inflaming rampant xenophobia.73 These warnings did not prevent the country from experiencing what Daniel Chiro named the “debacle,” a series of coups and civil wars. McGovern’s book on Ivory Coast, and many other articles such as the Ousmane Dembélé’s 2003 essay can help the reader to understand the divisions in Ivorian society that would later lead to the rebellion of September 2002 and then to the postelectoral war.74 In his book, Alfred Babo argues that the power competition between the three main ethnic blocs that had been defined by the colonizers (i.e., the groups from the north, west, and center) and the foreigners has been at the heart of the social construction of Ivory Coast as a divided society.75 Works by scholars including Aristide Zolberg and Sebastien Elischer demonstrate that Ivorian politics has always operated along ethnic boundaries, even after the advent of democracy in the 1990s.76 Ethnic divisions still constitute the dominant cleavage lines that not only influence politics but also maintain the existence of ethnically based parties in the political system. Thomas Bassett affirms that the 2010 elections showed for the first time that it was possible for an African state to transition from a single-party to a multiparty system by means of a “winning coalition of ethnic and regional interests.”77

What lies behind all policymaking is power. Langer’s and Stewart’s research explores the complex intersection of policy and power in Ivory Coast through the “horizontal inequalities” theoretical approach.78 The approach holds that such inequalities served as barriers to pluralism and prevented some ethnic groups from accessing governance or joining power elites. Stewart states that cultural differences became a powerful mobilizing agent that nourished grievances and ethnic divisions.79 Accordingly, ethnicity-based policies that have led to division and deadly civil war did not disappear. Instead, they evolved, merely changing their names and changing hands through successive regimes. An essay by the anthropologist Jean-Pierre Dozon published in 2012 provides a complete and comprehensive sociological and historical background of the evolution of Ivorian state and society from stability to war.80

Primary Sources

As Ivory Coast is a former French colony, many historical documents and materials about this African nation can be found in France at the Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Paris), the Archives Nationales de France, the de l’Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (previously ORSTOM) located in Marseilles and Dakar (Senegal), and the Archives Nationales d’Outre-Mer in Aix-en-Provence. They mostly pertain to the colonial period. Additional primary sources for the colonial era can be found on the African continent, especially in the Archives Nationales du Mali in Bamako and the Archives Nationales du Senegal and the Archives du Gouvernement General de l’AOF, both located in Dakar. In Ivory Coast, the former colonial archives form the basis of the Archives Nationales de Côte d’Ivoire located in Abidjan. Combined endeavors were made in 2016–2018 to digitize the archives by three historians specializing in Francophone Africa: Jean-Pierre Bat (National Archives, France), Vincent Hiribarren (King’s College London), and Elizabeth Jacob, in agreement and with the assistance of Venance Bahi Gouro, director of the National Archives of Côte d’Ivoire, and Nicolas Frelot of the French Institute in Côte d’Ivoire. They also initiated the creation of a website, which could be useful for scholars.

One of the main sources for the history of the late colonial and postindependence periods is the PDCI, created in 1946. As a state party, its congresses, conventions, and meetings marked and contributed to the history of the country for more than seventy years. Data related to these periods can also be found in the collection of the Foundation Félix Houphouët-Boigny, located in Yamoussoukro, the political capital. Some original accounts and minutes of important policies and decisions can also be found at the Archives of the National Assembly. Through the INS located in Abidjan, the government produced a general census of the population (Recensement genenral de la population in 1965 and 1975) on a regular basis, and later added surveys of households carried out with the Recensement general de la population et de l’habitat (RGPH) in 1988 and 1998). Lastly, as a legacy of the colonial period when archives were conserved by local and regional authorities, many primary sources are located in the offices of local administrations, the sous-prefectures, across the country. Every major rural and urban center has a historical archive relating to that place and its people. Like those of the Archives Nationales, however, these sources are not well preserved and are deteriorating. Most of the paper folders have been damaged and need to be digitized by means of electronic archiving.

Further Reading

  • Angoulvant, Gabriel. La Pacification de la Côte d’Ivoire, 1908–1915: Méthodes et résultats (lettre-préface du général Galliéni). Paris: Émile Larose, 1916.
  • Diabaté, Henriette. Mémorial de la Côte d’Ivoire: Volume 1, époque précoloniale. Abidjan,Ivory Coast, Edition AMI, 1987.
  • Dozon, Jean-Pierre. La société bété: Histoire d’une ethnie de Côte d’Ivoire. Paris, Hommes et Sociétés, 1985.
  • Duprey, Pierre. Histoire des Ivoiriens, naissance d’une nation. Abidjan, Ivory Coast: Imprimerie de la Côte d’Ivoire, 1962.
  • Duprey, Pierre. La Côte d’Ivoire de A à Z. Abidjan, Ivory Coast: Imprimerie de la Côte d’Ivoire, 1970.
  • Grah-Mel, Fréderic. Félix Houphouët-Boigny III. Paris: Karthala, 2010.
  • Jolivet, Elen. “L’ivoirité: De la conceptualisation à la manipulation de l’identité ivoirienne.” (Doctoral thesis, Rennes: Institut d’Etudes Politiques 2003).
  • Kipré, Pierre. Côte d’Ivoire—La formation d’un peuple. Abidjan, Ivory Coast: Sides, 2008.
  • Kipré, Pierre. Histoire de la Côte d’Ivoire. Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Editon AMI, 1991.
  • Kodjo, Georges Niamkey. Le royaume de Kong (Côte d’Ivoire): Des origines à la fin du XIXème siècle. Paris: L’Harmattan, 2006.
  • Loucou, Jean Noël. Côte d’Ivoire: les résistances à la conquête coloniale. Abidjan, Ivory Coast: Les éditions du SERAP, 2007.
  • Loucou, Jean Noël. Histoire de la Côte d’Ivoire. Abidjan, Ivory Coast: Ceda, 1984.
  • Loucou, Jean Noël, and Françoise Ligier. La reine Pokou, fondatrice du royaume baoule. Paris: NEA, 1977.
  • Niangoran-Bouah, Georges. L’univers Akan des poids à peser l’or, t. 1: Les poids non figuratifs. Abidjan, Ivory Coast: NEA/MLB, 1985.
  • Terray, Emmanuel. “L’économie politique du royaume abron du Gyaman,” Cahiers d’Études africaines 87, no. 88 (1982): 251–275.
  • Gauze, Antoine-Louhoy Tety. “Contribution à l’histoire du peuplement de la Côte-d’Ivoire,” Annales de l’Université d’Abidjan 1, no. 1 (1969): 7–23.


  • 1. Jean Noel Loucou and Françoise Ligier, La reine Pokou, fondatrice du royaume baoulé (Paris: NEA, 1977).

  • 2. Georges Niangoran-Bouah, L’univers Akan des poids à peser l’or, vol. 1 : Les poids non figuratifs, (Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire: NEA/MLB, 1984); vol. 2: Les poids figuratifs (Abidjan, Ivory Coast: NEA/MLB, 1985).

  • 3. Georges Niamkey Kodjo, Le royaume de Kong (Côte d’Ivoire): Des origines à la fin du XIXème siècle (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2006).

  • 4. Jean Pierre Dozon, La société bété: Histoire d’une ethnie de Côte d’Ivoire (Paris: Hommes et Sociétés, 1985).

  • 5. This category was created by the colonial administrators Maurice Delafosse and Georges Thomann.

  • 6. Alfred Schwartz, “La mise en place des populations Guéré et Wobé. Essai d’interprétation historique des données de la tradition orale,” Cahiers de l’ORSTOM 4 (1968): 3–38; Petrus Joannes Leo Vandenhoute, Classification stylistique du masque Dan et Guéré de la Côte d’Ivoire occidentale (AOF) (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1948).

  • 7. Antoine-Louhoy Tety Gauze, “Contribution à l’histoire du peuplement de la Côte-d’Ivoire,” Annales de l’Université d’Abidjan 1, no. 1 (1969): 7–23.

  • 8. This article covers almost the entire 20th century; it looks briefly at the colonial period and then the sixty-plus years since independence. Even though the article does not thoroughly address the precolonial period, sources have been listed in the “Further Reading” section that cover pre-1893 Ivory Coast.

  • 9. Maurice Delafosse, Ed., Vocabulaires comparatifs de plus de 60 langues ou dialectes parlés à la Côte d’Ivoire et dans les régions limitrophes (Paris: Leroux, 1904).

  • 10. Hermann Baumann and Diedrich Westermann, Les peuples et les civilisations de l’Afrique suivie de les langues et l’éducation (Paris: Payot, 1948); and Alfred Schwartz, La vie quotidienne dans un village guéré (Abidjan, Ivory Coast: INADES, 1975).

  • 11. James Fenske, “L’Etranger: Status, Property Rights, and Investment Incentives in Côte d’Ivoire,” Land Economics 86, no. 4 (2010): 623.

  • 12. Hubert Fréchou, “Les plantations européennes en Côte d’Ivoire,” Les Cahiers d’Outre-Mer 8, no. 29 (1955): 56–83.

  • 13. Elliot Percival Skinner, “Strangers in West African Societies,” Africa 33 (1963): 307–320; Henri-Michel Yéré, “Reconfiguring Nationhood in Côte d’Ivoire?,” in Perspectives on Côte d’Ivoire: Between Political Breakdown and Post-Conflict Peace, ed. Cyril Obi (Uppsala: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, 2007), 50–67.

  • 14. Abou B. Bamba, African Miracle, African Mirage: Transnational Politics and the Paradox of Modernization in Ivory Coast (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2016).

  • 15. Markus Eberhardt and Francis Teal, “Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire: Changing Places,” International Development Policy 1 (2010): 33–49.

  • 16. See Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

  • 17. See Perspective Monde, “Production de cacao en millers de tonnes—principaux producteurs, Côte d’Ivoire.”

  • 18. Bastiaan A. den Tuinder, Ivory Coast: The Challenge of Success, World Bank Report (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1978), 28.

  • 19. Institut National de la Statistique, La Côte d’Ivoire en chiffres (Abidjan, Ivory Coast: INS, 1980).

  • 20. Institut National de la Statistique, Recensement General de la Population et de l’Habitat (Abidjan, Ivory Coast: INS, 1988). In 2014, 24.2 percent of the population of Ivory Coast were foreign nationals, mostly originating from other West African countries.

  • 21. Véronique Lassailly-Jacob, “Un exemple éphémère de planification du développement: l’AVB en Côte d’Ivoire centrale (1969–1980),” Cahiers d’études africaines 26, no. 103 (1986): 333–348.

  • 22. Catherine Boone, “The Social Origins of Ivoirian Exceptionalism: Rural Society and State Formation,” Comparative Politics 27, no. 4 (1995): 445–463.

  • 23. Jean-Pierre Chauveau, “How Does an Institution Evolve? Land, Politics, Intra-Households Relations and the Institution of the Tutorat between Autochthons and Migrant Farmers in the Gban Region—Côte d’Ivoire,” in Landrights and the Politics of Belonging in West Africa, ed. Richard Kuba and Carola Lentz (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2006), 213–240.

  • 24. Samir Amin, Le développement du capitalisme en Côte-d’Ivoire (Paris: Editions de Minuit, 1967).

  • 25. François Ruf, Booms et crises du cacao: Les vertiges de l’or brun (Paris: Karthala-CIRAD-SAR, 1995).

  • 26. The privatization of this entity proved to be so complex that it was only achieved in the 2000s.

  • 27. Benie Marcel Kouadio, “Restructuration et évolution de l’emploi dans le secteur public et parapublic en Côte d’Ivoire,” Africa Development 17, no. 1 (1992): 93–112.

  • 28. Pacome Kassy Shaw, “Miracle économique, crise et ajustement structurel en Côte d’Ivoire, impact sur l’emploi dans le secteur moderne au cours des décennies 70 et 80,” (MA diss., Institut Universitaire d’Etudes du Development, 1996)

  • 29. Christian Bouquet, The importance of Foreigners in Ivory Coast, Annales de Geographie 639 (2003): 115–145.

  • 30. Jean-Pierre Dozon, “La Côte d’Ivoire entre démocratie, nationalisme et ethnonationalisme,” Politique Africaine 78 (2000): 45–62.

  • 31. Konan H. Bédié, Les chemins de ma vie (Paris: Plon, 1998), 174.

  • 32. Mike McGovern, Making War in Côte d’Ivoire (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011)

  • 33. Arnim Langer, Horizontal Inequalities and Violent Conflict: Côte d’Ivoire Country Paper (Oxford: Human Development Report, 2005), 11.

  • 34. Bruce Berman, “Ethnicity, Patronage and the African State: The Politics of Uncivil Nationalism.” African Affairs 97, no. 388 (1998): 305–341; and Daniel Posner, Institutions and Ethnic Politics in Africa (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005).

  • 35. Thomas Sikor, and Christian Lund, “Access and Property: A Question of Power and Authority,” Development and Change 40, no. 1 (2009): 1–22.

  • 36. Decree 1935, By-laws 1943, 1955, Circular 1968 and Law 71—338 of July 1971.

  • 37. The law reserves rural land ownership for Ivoirians (Art.1). Provision is made for an initial 10-year probationary period during which all holders of land rights implying appropriation of land (excluding indirect modes of tenure) must have their rights recognised and obtain an individual or joint land registration certificate. At the end of this period, land will be registered in the name of the state and the farmer will become a tenant (Art. 3.4 and 5). Non-Ivoirian farmers can only obtain a promise of a long lease from the indigenous holders of land registration certificates, or if they are listed as “occupants in good faith,” or from the state if the land is registered to the state (Art. 26).

  • 38. Ousmane Dembélé, “Cote d’Ivoire: La fracture communautaire.” Politique Africaine 89 (2003): 34–48.

  • 39. Alfred Babo, L’étranger en Côte d’Ivoire: crises et controverses autour d’une categorie sociale (Paris: L ’Harmattan, 2013); and Alfred Babo, “Traditional Mechanisms of Conflict Resolution in Modern Africa: The Bodior Ritual and The Enduring Kroumen versus Lobi-Dagara Conflict in Southern Côte d’Ivoire,” African Study Monographs 39, no. 2 (2018): 83–95.

  • 40. KBédié, Les chemins de ma vie.

  • 41. In addition, “in case of force majeure,” the outgoing President of the Republic remains in place.

  • 42. These policy developments escalated the political tension and led to the military coup that ousted Bédié from power.

  • 43. See complete statement of the “Charte du Nord” in Babo. L’étranger en Côte d’Ivoire, Annex.

  • 44. The “and” refers to those who demanded both father and mother of a candidate to be both by birth, while for partisans of “or” only one parent need be Ivorian in reference to the Nationality Code which stipulates that an individual is Ivorian if one of his/her parents is Ivorian.

  • 45. Langer, Horizontal Inequalities and Violent Conflict, 5.

  • 46. See video of IB

  • 47. Cérémonie de mise en place des Forces Républicaines de Côte d`Ivoire (FRCI) par le Président de la République

  • 48. Christian Henderson, “International Measures for the Protection of Civilians in Libya and Cote d’Ivoire,” The International and Comparative Law Quarterly 6, no. 3 (2011): 767–778; and Giulia Piccolino, “David against Goliath in Côte d’Ivoire? Laurent Gbagbo’s war against global governance,” African Affairs 111, no. 442 (2012): 1–23.

  • 49. Vincent. Hugeux, “Côte d’Ivoire: Ouattara veut “protéger les minorités,” L’Express, February 2, 2012.

  • 50. 40% of the army are Dioula. See Hugeux (2012)

  • 51. Bafing (Touba)—Bagoué (Boundiali)—Béré (Mankono)—Bounkani (Bouna)—Folon (Minignan)—Hambol (Katiola)—Kabadougou (Odienné)—Poro (Korhogo)—Tchologo (Ferké)—Worodougou (Séguéla)

  • 52. Severin Débailly, “Législatives 2011 / Les données statistiques qui intriguent—Le Grand Nord surreprésenté ?,” L’intelligent d’Abidjan, January 2, 2012.

  • 53. Articles 12, 13, 14 and 16 of Act No. 61- 415 of 14 December 1961 on the Nationality Code as amended by laws No. 72–852 of December 21, 1972.

  • 54. 1961 convention on the reduction of statelessness, signed on 30 August 1961. 1954 convention relating to the status of stateless, signed on 28 September 1954.

  • 55. Alassane Ouattara won the November 25th 2015 presidential election by 83.66 percent of the vote.

  • 56. Amnesty International. Report Côte d’Ivoire 2017/2018, April 20, 2018.

  • 57. Human Rights Watch. Côte d’Ivoire: President Ouattara should keep his Promises on Justice, March 24, 2016.

  • 58. Commission Nationale d’Enquête, “Rapport d’enquête sur les violations des droits de l’homme et du droit international humanitaire survenues dans la période du 31 octobre 2010 au 15 mai 2011,” July 2012, .

  • 59. Frederic Grah-Mel, Félix Houphouët-Boigny I: Le Fulgurant Destin d’une Jeune Proie (?-1960) (Paris: Maisonneuve et Larose, 2003).

  • 60. Marcel Amondi, Félix Houphouët et la Côte-d’Ivoire: L’envers d’une légende (Paris: Karthala, 1984); and Amin, Le développement du capitalisme en Côte-d’Ivoire.

  • 61. Crawford Young, The Postcolonial State in Africa Fifty Years of Independence, 1960–2010 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2012).

  • 62. Stephen Smith, Negrologie. Pourquoi l’Afrique meurt? (Paris: Calmann-Levy, 2003).

  • 63. Daniel Chiro, “The Debacle in Côte d’Ivoire,” Journal of Democracy 17, no. 2 (2006): 63–111.

  • 64. Harris Memel-Fotê and Bernard Contamin, Le modèle ivoirien en question, crises, ajustement, recompositions (Paris: Karthala, 1997).

  • 65. Rene Dumont, L’Afrique noire est mal partie (Paris: Seuil, 1962).

  • 66. Francis Akindès, The Roots of the Military-Political Crises in Côte d’Ivoire (Dakar/Uppsala: Nordic Africa Institute, 2004).

  • 67. Bernard Otch-Akpa, “Le principe: « La terre appartient à celui qui la met en valeur » l’envers socio-politique de la problématique foncière de l’État ivoirien 1963–1993,” (thèse de doctorat, Université de Paris 1-Sorbonne, 1993).

  • 68. Mahamadou Zongo, “La diaspora burkinabè en Côte d’Ivoire: trajectoire historique, recomposition des dynamiques migratoires et rapport avec le pays d’origine,” Politique africaine 90 (2003): 113–126.

  • 69. Victor Le Vine, Politics in Francophone Africa (London: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2007).

  • 70. Berman, “Ethnicity, Patronage and the African State,”, 305–341; and Leroy Vail, eds., The Creation of Tribalism in Africa (Berkeley, University of California Press, 1991).

  • 71. Jeanne Toungara, “Ethnicity and Political Crisis in Côte d’Ivoire,” Journal of Democracy 12, no. 3 (2001): 63–72; Ruth. Marshall-Fratani, “The War of ‘Who is Who’: Autochtony, Nationalism and Citizenship in the Ivorian Crisis,” African Studies Review 49, no. 2 (2006): 9–43; McGovern, Making War; and Abu Bakar Bah, “Democracy and Civil War: Citizenship and Peacemaking in Côte d’Ivoire,” African Affairs 109, no. 437 (2010): 597–615.

  • 72. Boone, “The Social Origins of Ivoirian Exceptionalism,”, 445–463.

  • 73. Moriba Touré, “Immigration en Côte d’Ivoire : la notion de « seuil tolérable » relève de la xénophobie,” Politique africaine 2, no. 78 (2000): 75–93.

  • 74. McGovern, Making War; Ousmane Dembélé, “Côte d’Ivoire: la fracture communautaire,” Politique africaine 89 (2003): 34–48; and La Côte d’Ivoire en guerre, dynamique du dedans, dynamique du dehors (Paris: Karthala), 34–48.

  • 75. Babo, L’étranger en Côte d’Ivoire.

  • 76. Aristide R. Zolberg, « Ivory Coast », in Political Parties and Integration in Tropical Africa, ed. James S. Coleman (Berkeley/Los Angeles, University of California Press, 1964), 65–89; and Sebastian Elischer, Political Parties in Africa: Ethnicity and Party Formation (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2013).

  • 77. Thomas J. Bassett, “Winning coalition, sore loser: Côte d’Ivoire’s 2010 presidential elections,” African Affairs 110, no. 440 (2011): 469–479.

  • 78. Langer, Horizontal Inequalities and Violent Conflict, 8; and Frances Stewart, Horizontal Inequalities: Barriers to Pluralism. Accounting for Change in Diverse Societies (Ottawa, ON: Global Centre for Pluralism, 2017), 3.

  • 79. Frances Stewart, “Horizontal Inequalities: A Neglected Dimension of Development,” QEH Working Paper Series 81 Oxford: Queen Elizabeth House University of Oxford, 2002), 3.

  • 80. Jean-Pierre Dozon, Les clefs de la crise ivoirienne (Paris: Karthala, 2012).