Ivory Coast

The body of a dead militia soldier lies in the street of the upscale suburb Cocody. Photo by Stefano de Luigi

The body of a dead militia soldier lies in the street of the upscale suburb Cocody. Photo by Stefano de Luigi

A French colony since 1893, Ivory Coast became independent in 1960. Rich in cocoa and coffee, the country enjoyed economic and political stability under its first president, Felix Houphouët-Boigny. Recent history in Cote d’Ivoire was anything but bright. In the course of the recent crisis, more than 3, 000 people died in the fighting and more than one million were forced to flee their homes. The United Nations refugee agency estimates that hundreds of thousands remain displaced, including more than 100,000 refugees in neighboring Liberia. The security situation has improved overall, but tensions remain high in some areas. These pictures chronicle three weeks in April 2011 where a real civil war erupted between supporters of former president Laurent Gbagbo and supporters of elected president Alassane Ouattara. Now that peace seems to be back in Ivory Coast and that President Ouattara has promised a commission to establish the responsibility for crimes committed by both sides, many challenges still lie ahead. But Cote d’Ivoire is up to the task. The economy is getting back on track. Banks are resuming operations, the ports have reopened, trade flow has resumed and the development community stands ready to assist Cote d’Ivoire through the process of revitalizing its economy.

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