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Côte d'Ivoire

Waging Peace

Through election monitoring, The Carter Center has supported the political transition and restoration of peace in Côte d'Ivoire, following years of civil war and turbulence.

+Monitoring elections

Côte d'Ivoire's long-delayed elections were a key element in resolving the political crisis that had kept the country divided since 2002. Free, open, transparent, and democratic elections were a central component of the 2007 Ouagadougou Political Agreement, established between the government of Côte d'Ivoire and rebels known as the Forces Nouvelles, which controlled the country's north.

After many delays, the first round of elections finally took place on Oct. 31, 2010, followed by a second round on Nov. 28, 2010.

The Carter Center observed those elections as well as the 2011 parliamentary elections and – in partnership with the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa – the 2020 presidential election.

2010 Presidential Election

The Center maintained a field presence to continue monitoring political developments and deployed 50 observers for the eventual Oct. 31, 2010, election, which was characterized by high voter turnout and a calm political environment. This was the country's first truly open contest and a critical step in the peace process.

Because no candidate garnered more than 50 percent of the vote, a runoff between former Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara and incumbent President Gbagbo took place on Nov. 28, 2010. This election was characterized by increased political tensions among ethnic groups and minor irregularities; however, The Carter Center saw no major problems that would jeopardize the integrity of the election results.

Following the tally of second-round votes, the election commission announced that Alassane Ouattara had been elected president. Carter Center observers assessed that these results were valid and that the elections were held in accordance with international standards.

However, the Constitutional Council reviewed a complaint from President Gbagbo and ruled a sufficient number of votes invalid to reverse the order of the two candidates, declaring Gbagbo the victor.  The ensuing political crisis fueled violence with hundreds of thousands of Ivoirians displaced and several months of conflict.  On April 11, 2011, Laurent Gbagbo was detained by forces aligned with Alasanne Ouattara after several days of fighting in Abidjan.

2011 Parliamentary Elections

The Carter Center observed Côte d'Ivoire's December 2011 legislative elections, which represented an essential step in re-establishing constitutional order and solidifying peace.

The Center sent 18 medium-term observers to monitor electoral preparations, and a group of short-term observers was deployed shortly before election day.

The Carter Center noted a generally peaceful voting environment, encouraged the government to pursue dialogue in a spirit of national reconciliation, and noted that important electoral reforms should be considered before a new electoral cycle begins.

The Center's office in Atlanta continued to monitor the turbulent situation in the aftermath of the elections and supports the political transition in Côte d'Ivoire and the restoration of peace in the region.

2020 Presidential Election

The Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) and The Carter Center deployed a long-term international election observation mission for the presidential election on Oct. 31, 2020. The mission consisted of an EISA and Carter Center senior team based in Abidjan, 12 international long-term observers, and 24 short-term observers.

Unfortunately, the overall context and process of the presidential election did not allow for a genuinely competitive election. It excluded a number of Ivorian political forces and was hampered by an active boycott by a segment of the population and a volatile security environment. Several candidates did not contest the election and broad sectors of the Ivorian population did not participate; these issues threatened the acceptance of the results and the country's cohesion.

EISA and The Carter Center expressed serious concerns about restrictions on civil liberties, freedom of expression, and the right to vote and be elected, which run counter to Côte d'Ivoire's regional and international commitments to democratic elections. The mission deplored the loss of life and condemned the violence that engulfed the electoral process, particularly during August 2020. It expressed concern that this situation could threaten the democratic advances consolidated by the country over the past decade and increase the risk of conflict and violence, including beyond the country's borders.

Following the election, EISA and The Carter Center joined the international community in urging President Alassane Ouattara and opposition leaders to address their political and electoral differences through an inclusive dialogue. The mission will redeploy in early 2021 to assess the anticipated legislative elections in the spring.

Read the Carter Center's final reports on observing Côte d'Ivoire's elections >

Fighting Disease

When Côte d'Ivoire joined the Guinea Worm Eradication Program in 1995, 3,421 cases in 252 Ivoirian villages were on record. Today, the country is Guinea worm-free and reaping the health benefits of this remarkable achievement.

+Eradicating Guinea worm

Current status: Transmission stopped, September 2006 (read the announcement)
Certification of dracunculiasis elimination: 2013
Current Guinea worm case reports >

When Côte d'Ivoire joined the Guinea worm eradication campaign in 1995, 3,421 cases in 252 villages were on record.

The Carter Center-supported Guinea worm disease elimination efforts largely were dependent on education and preventive measures in local communities. Approaches included: health education; distribution of nylon filters to strain out water fleas hosting infected larvae; safe, monthly treatment of stagnant water sources with ABATE® larvicide, donated by the BASF; direct advocacy with water organizations; and increased efforts to build safer hand-dug wells. Village volunteers, who were trained, supplied, and supervised by the program, carried out monthly surveillance and interventions.

By 2006, the country reported a more than 99 percent reduction in Guinea worm, with only five cases in one village from the district of Mibahikro. In September 2006, the program reported its last indigenous case from the village of Lendoukro. The following year, after going 13 consecutive months with no further cases reported, the nation announced it had stopped Guinea worm disease transmission.

Cote d'Ivoire was honored at a special ceremony at The Carter Center in Atlanta in 2006 for having stopped Guinea worm disease transmission. Read more about the special ceremony >

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QUICK FACTS: COTE D'IVOIRE

Size: 322,463 square kilometers

Population: 27,481,086

Population below poverty line: 46.3%

Life expectancy: 61.3 years

Ethnic groups: Akan, Voltaiques or Gur, Northern Mande, Kru, Southern Mande, unspecified, non-Ivoirian 

Religions: Muslim, Catholic, Evangelical, Methodist, other Christian, animist, and others

Languages: French (official), 60 native dialects of which Dioula the most widely spoken

Source: U.S. Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook 2020

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