Supporters of the two presidents of Côte d’Ivoire (also known as the Ivory Coast) are fighting it out in the streets of its largest city, Abidjan. But why are there two presidents? Elections were held in Côte d’Ivoire in November last year to choose the next president of the country. Alassane Ouattara, a former prime minister, won the elections. However, Laurent Gbagbo, who was the president at the time, refused to step down because he claimed there was cheating in the elections. Gbagbo has been the leader of Côte d’Ivoire since 2000. He is supported by many people living in the southern part of the country, while most of the people in the north support Ouattara. Both men declared themselves as president and formed their own governments! The international community is standing by Ouattara as the president of the country. Troops of the United Nations and France are also fighting against Gbagbo’s men.
Côte d’Ivoire was a French colony and got its independence in 1960. In the 1960s and 1970s, the country was peaceful and had a booming cocoa industry. This attracted people from other countries to move in to make a better living for themselves, and many of these people settled in the northern part of the country. People living in the southern part of the country didn’t view the folks in the north as being true citizens of Côte d’Ivoire, and there has been friction between the two regions. In fact, Ouattara, who is from the northern part of the country and had already been the prime minister of the country, was not allowed to participate in the presidential election in 2000 because his parents were not originally from Côte d’Ivoire. In 2002, a civil war broke out, which lasted for about 2 years.
All of us chocolate-lovers have a lot to thank Côte d’Ivoire for. It is the world’s biggest producer of cocoa, the key ingredient of chocolate. The recent fighting in the country has led to a shortage of cocoa, which has driven up the prices of cocoa around the globe. French is the official language of Côte d’Ivoire.