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Ivory Coast Table of Contents

Ivory Coast


Population: As of 1987, estimated at 10.6 million, with average annual growth rate of 4.1 percent, one of highest in world. Roughly 50 percent of population urban and concentrated in Abidjan and Bouaké areas. Average population density thirty-two persons per square kilometer in 1987. Forty-five percent of population under age fifteen.

Ethnic Groups: More than sixty ethnic groups. Major ethnic groups included: Baoulé (15 percent), Sénoufo (10 percent), Bété (6 percent), Lagoon peoples (5 percent), Agni (Anyi--3 percent), and Mandé cluster of groups, including Juula, Bambara, and Malinké (17 percent). Non-Ivoirian Africans, Lebanese, Asians, and Europeans composed nearly 27 percent of population.

Languages: Number of African languages (grouped into four branches of Niger-Congo language family) corresponds roughly to number of ethnic groups. Sections of several groups speak different languages. Some languages used as mother tongue by more than one ethnic group. Official language, French; variants of Mandé-kan spoken throughout country as commercial language.

Religion: In 1980s one-fourth of population Muslim, oneeighth Christian (mostly Roman Catholic), and remainder local religions or, in smaller numbers, syncretic religions.

Education: Six-year primary-school system compulsory where available. In 1987 enrolled 75 percent of boys and 50 percent of girls under fifteen. Only 19 percent of primary-school students enrolled in public secondary schools. After four years, students sit for exams for certificate of lower cycle of secondary study (brevet d'étude du premier cycle--BEPC). A second three-year cycle led to baccalauréat, necessary for university entrance. Public schooling through university controlled and funded by central government. Fourteen percent of primary schools and 29 percent of secondary schools private, mostly Catholic. Some Quranic schools in north tolerated but not supported by government. In 1988 overall literacy rate 43 percent; 53 percent for men and 31 percent for women.

Health: In 1988 health services unable to meet needs of majority of population. Urban-rural and regional imbalances, low ratios of doctors to patients, and severe shortages of nurses and auxiliary health care personnel existed. Public health programs underfunded and personnel lacked adequate training. Nutritional deficiencies and impure water major sources of disease. Malaria, measles, and tropical ailments common; 250 cases of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) reported by end of 1987.

Data as of November 1988