Cote d’Ivoire

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Cote d’Ivoire, former French colony which gained independence in 1960, ranges from rainforests to beaches — with a diverse society of more than 60 ethnic groups, today commonly intermingled. The past few decades have seen a military coup, a failed coup attempt, a civil war and second outbreak of widespread violence, and an act of al-Qaeda terrorism — with a relatively safe and peaceful country today.

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Cote d’Ivoire’s 2016 terrorist attack by al-Qaeda took place in Grand-Bassam, a beach resort community 40 minutes east of Abidjan, the nation’s economic capital. This is an historic building complex in Grand-Bassam, next to the folk museum; the area is filled with artisans and horse stables.

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Traditional arts and handcrafts abound in Cote d’Ivoire, filled with animistic imagery and cultural symbols, each of the 60 ethnic groups with its own distinct style.

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Modern art can also be found in Cote d’Ivoire — especially in Abidjan art cafés and restaurants.

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Tension between the nation’s Christians (50%) and Muslims (40%) broke into widescale violence in the 2000s; today, following civil war and periods of disputed election conflict, the people of Cote d’Ivoire are more united than divided — with Muslim marrying Christian and no expectations of conversion, in which the children are exposed to both religions and given freedom to decide for themselves.

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The future of Cote d’Ivoire — and indeed of all 54 African nations — is in the hands of Mother Africa herself.

~EWP