Ivory Coast Table of Contents
Before independence, military training was conducted almost exclusively by French personnel either on the job or at institutions in France, Senegal, and Côte d'Ivoire. Most training was based on informal arrangements. Only a few officers and NCOs were sent to France for advanced professional and technical training. Since independence, as it has acquired the necessary expertise, Côte d'Ivoire has assumed responsibility for training its own armed forces. In November 1961, France transferred the EMPT located at Bingerville to the new Ivoirian government. At that time, the school taught only specialized technical subjects, such as communications and automotive mechanics. Because the new government intended to use the military as a means to promote the ethos of national service and to teach skills relevant to national development, the programs were immediately expanded to include agricultural and construction skills.
Since assuming control of the EMPT at Bingerville, FANCI gradually expanded the curriculum. Students entered the academy after their first year of secondary education and remained there throughout secondary school (see Education , ch. 2). Students took military training and academic courses simultaneously throughout the program. Initially, the curriculum stressed technical and vocational subjects, but by 1988 it was expanding to include courses in the humanities and social sciences so that graduates would qualify for entrance into universities in Côte d'Ivoire and Europe. Students were admitted to the school following a competitive examination, and graduates could either enter FANCI with a commission or proceed to college. About 86 percent of those admitted completed the program and graduated. In addition to training Ivoirian students, the Bingerville academy also accepted pupils from other francophone African countries, such as Niger, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Senegal, and Central African Republic. The school had a French commandant and employed both military and civilian faculty, including a sizable number of French instructors. In 1982 the school was reported to have almost 500 students, more than 40 French civilian professors, and several French military instructors.
In July 1963, FANCI established its own school, the EFA, at Bouaké. The EFA subsequently became a regional military training center serving francophone West Africa. It also was headed by a French commandant. The EFA selected officer and NCO candidates between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five by competitive written and oral examinations administered annually; officer candidates had to hold a baccalaureate degree. By 1983, the twentieth anniversary of the EFA, 251 Ivoirian officers and 48 officers from Gabon, 38 from Togo, 32 from Senegal, 20 from Central African Republic, 15 from Niger, 7 from Burkina Faso, and 6 from Chad had received commissions from the school.
Until 1983 all training for FACI pilots was provided in France in a four-year program of instruction. Following a 1982 FrancoIvoirian agreement, however, a basic pilots' training school was opened at the Bouaké air base in April 1983. France provided the aircraft, operating budget, and matériel for the one-year program. By 1986 enrollees also included non-Ivoirians. Ivoirian students were selected by FACI, and the training was conducted by the French aircraft manufacturer Aerospatiale. The program included 140 hours of training. Graduates were awarded a pilot's license and went to France for further flight training in transports or jets, depending on their aptitude. Officer candidates had to meet advanced mathematics qualifications, and NCOs were required to have completed the equivalent of one year of postsecondary education. On the basis of the selection examination, candidates were divided into three groups for specialized duties. Candidates who scored the highest could become pilots; those who scored in the middle group could become mechanics or communications technicians; and those who scored in the lowest category could be trained for other occupations. Mechanics, communications technicians, and most other specialists were trained in Côte d'Ivoire. Because of its small size and the specialized technical expertise required, FACI recruited for officers and NCO candidates through selective examinations given only once a year.
The Ministry of Maritime Affairs had also operated a number of training institutions for Ivoirian and West African naval and merchant marine personnel. These schools were transferred to the Ministry of Defense and Maritime Affairs in December 1987. In 1975 plans were unveiled for a regional 1,500-student naval/merchant marine academy in Abidjan to serve the needs of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and other inter-African organizations to which Côte d'Ivoire belonged. By 1983 several training facilities were in operation, including the Merchant Marine Training Academy, the Academy of Oceanographic Sciences and Technology, the Regional Maritime Instruction Center, and the Center for Antipollution Control. These regional training institutions and others were supported by the United Nations, the European Development Fund, and other international organizations. Several countries, particularly France and Japan, also provided aid. France supplied most of Côte d'Ivoire's naval craft as well as maritime training; Japan furnished the Navy's only training ship, trained Ivoirian naval officers, contributed more than US$500,000 toward the construction of the Abidjan Naval Academy, and participated in the phased expansion of the Naval Academy and the Abidjan port facilities.
Data as of November 1988
Ivory Coast Table of Contents