Côte d'Ivoire - Population

The overall population of the country by July 2001 estimates stood at 16,393 221. The growth rate has fallen to around 2% per annum, a result of falling fertility rates, lower immigration and the effect of AIDS. The infection rate of HIV/AIDS is one of the highest in West Africa

Over a third of the population consists of first- and second-generation foreigners, mainly Burkinabè, Malian, Guinean and of Ghanaian origin. Clashes over land ownership have occurred periodically since 1999, mostly between indigenous populations in the southwest and immigrant farmers from neighbouring Burkina Faso and Mali.

In recent years the country has become one of the most urbanized countries in West Africa - according to UN estimates 44% of all Ivorians live in towns, government estimates put the figure at 60%. The population of Abidjan, the administrative centre, was estimated at 3,2m in 1998. The proportion of poor in the country, and most notably in the urban areas, has grown sharply and at the same time social services have deteriorated country wide.

Refugees and Internally Displaced People's (IDPs)

According to conservative estimates, Cote d’Ivoire hosted more than 1220,000 Liberian refugees and some 1,535,000 Sierra Leoneons (many of whom have been in the country for more than a decade) in the western part of the country at the end of 2001. Although several thousand Libarian refugees repatriated during 2001, at least 40,000 new Liberian refugees arrived in Cote d’Ivoire during 2002 following the renewed outbreak of fighting in Liberia.


Healthcare provision is generally inadequate. In an effort to address problem of healthcare in the country, the government launched an ambitious public health development programme in 1996. The programme targets infrastructural development and mother and child care initiatives.


AIDS is seen to be a growing threat with Côte d’Ivoire having high infection rates of around 10.8% (one of the highest in West Africa) and consequent declining population growth rates. The government has received financial assistance from France for prevention and care programmes, and in March 2001 succeeded in securing a deal with leading pharmaceutical firms to slash the price of HIV/AIDS treatments, making it the first country in Africa to benefit from such a deal.

Food security

Low-income food deficit country. Major foodcrops: roots and tubers, fruit, rice, maize. Following an above-average cereal harvest in 1999, the overall food supply situation in 2000 was satisfactory. Import requirements (mainly wheat & rice) for 2000 were 156% of the 5-yr. average, a consequence of civil unrest affecting marketing activities.

Following an above-average cereal harvest in 2001, the overall food supply situation for 2002 is satisfactory. The cereal import requirement for the 2002 marketing year is estimated at 1 025 000 tonnes, mainly rice and wheat.


Since the early 1980s standards of education at all levels have been dropping, as evidenced also by the markedly low literacy rates. In 1997 less than half the population were literate, well below regional averages. Discontent on the university campuses has frequently spilled over into the streets and schools.

Last updated January 2003