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10 Facts about Life Expectancy in Côte d'Ivoire
Côte d’Ivoire, or the Ivory Coast, is a West African country with one of the fastest-growing economies in the continent. However, its life expectancy at birth is one of the lowest in the world. Here are seven facts about life expectancy in Côte d’Ivoire.

7 Facts About life Expectancy in Côte d’Ivoire.

  1. According to the CIA World Factbook, Côte d’Ivoire’s life expectancy at birth is 60.1 years. Out of the 223 countries measured, Côte d’Ivoire ranks 209. This is 30 spots lower than its GDP per capita ranking.
  2. One of the main causes of Côte d’Ivoire’s low life expectancy is its alarmingly high infant-mortality rate. An estimated one out of every 16 babies born in Côte d’Ivoire dies, making it the number one cause of death in Côte d’Ivoire. This is the 14th highest rate in the world, but over the last 20 years, there has been a considerable improvement. According to Niale Kaba, Côte d’Ivoire’s planning and development minister, the country’s infant mortality rate has fallen from “112 for every 1,000 births in 1998 to 60 per 1,000 in 2016.”
  3. Côte d’Ivoire’s life expectancy is also being suppressed by its high birth rate and lack of quality health care for both newborns and mothers. The average age of a mother’s first birth in the Ivory Coast is roughly 19 years old and each woman will bear almost four children, on average. However, only 59 percent of births are overseen by a skilled birth attendant. The young age of mothers and the lack of health professionals guiding them through their pregnancies contribute to the Ivory Coast’s ranking of 12th highest maternal mortality rate in the world.
  4. A considerable lack of accessible sanitation facilities and clean water makes much of the Ivory Coast’s population susceptible to disease. Around half of the schools in Côte d’Ivoire do not have toilets or water, forcing students to walk up to a kilometer just for clean water. Additionally, 60 percent of families do not have the means to regularly wash their hands with soap and water. These dangerous conditions increase the likelihood of death from preventable diarrheal diseases, which are the sixth deadliest condition in Côte d’Ivoire.
  5. Alarmingly, 24,000 people die from HIV/AIDS in Côte d’Ivoire each year, the 10th highest rate in the world. While it no longer causes the most deaths in the Ivory Coast, every day five teenagers are infected with HIV/AIDS. Modern scientific treatments like antiretroviral therapy have been remarkably successful at combating this crisis, but less than 30 percent of HIV-positive children in Côte d’Ivoire are receiving the medication they need to survive. The lack of health care for these children is one of the main drags on the country’s life expectancy, with more than 50 percent of HIV-positive children not on medication dying before the age of 2.
  6. Education is one of the main drivers of increased life expectancy. Unfortunately, only 65 percent of Ivorian children are completing primary school. Additionally, less than half of the country is literate mostly due to prohibitive fees associated with schooling which excludes poor families. This lack of education severely limits the economic opportunities for the entire country. Experts agree that improving education in Côte d’Ivoire would increase the number of skilled laborers and lead to higher wages, a better quality of life and improved life expectancy. The International Cocoa Initiative has worked with over 600 communities to help get more children out of the fields and into school. They have seen a remarkable 20 percent increase in school participation rates, showing that there is hope for the future generations of Ivorians.
  7. UNICEF has been crucial in helping the people of Côte d’Ivoire, funding numerous programs that have produced a substantial quality of life improvements. Whether it be offering HIV/AIDS testing, providing community wells or helping children escape dangerous working conditions, UNICEF is making a difference throughout the Ivory Coast. Groups like Action Against Hunger have followed in UNICEF’s footsteps, partnering with Côte d’Ivoire’s government to help run 12 community health establishments and providing 29,900 families with access to clean water.

While these seven facts about life expectancy in Côte d’Ivoire can be hard to grapple with, there is evidence that conditions are getting better. Improving access to education, medicine, healthcare and many other necessities will undoubtedly help pull millions of Ivorians out of poverty. With help from the international community, 20 years from now an article titled 10 facts about life expectancy in Côte d’Ivoire might not look so glum.

– Myles McBride Roach
Photo: Flickr

What Are the World's Fastest Growing Economies?
Though the U.S. is known as the world’s largest economy, many of the world’s fastest growing economies are those of developing nations. Among factors such as foreign aid, increased tourism and more trade, developing nations become some of the world’s fastest growing economies as more people are lifted out of poverty and become consumers.

Here are five of the world’s fastest growing economies based on World Bank data from 2013-2015 (the most recent data available):

  1. Ireland
    · 2013: 1.4%
    · 2014: 5.2%
    · 2015: 7.8%
    After the world financial crisis of 2007-2009, the economic activity in Ireland dropped sharply. After reaching the world’s largest budget deficit in 2010, Ireland accepted a loan from the European Union and International Monetary Fund to provide capital to its banking sector. In addition to the loan, lower taxes and increased public spending helped Ireland’s economy recover and reach the EU’s highest growth rate for 2014 and 2015. Low corporation taxes also attracted multinational companies to Ireland.
  2. Ethiopia
    · 2013: 9.9%
    · 2014: 10.3%
    · 2015: 10.2%
    The economy of Ethiopia has grown quickly for the past decade. This is mostly due to progress in Ethiopia’s agriculture and service industries. New infrastructure connecting previously isolated regions of the country also fuels economic growth. Rich in ancient cultures, Ethiopia is now one of the world’s top tourist destinations, providing millions of jobs to Ethiopians.
    However, as of 2014, nearly 30 percent of Ethiopians still lived below the poverty line. Ethiopia is still susceptible to droughts, with a severe drought occurring from 2014-2015. Droughts can be catastrophic for the 80 percent of Ethiopians that are employed in the agriculture industry.
  3. Palau
    · 2013: -2.4%
    · 2014: 4.2%
    · 2015: 9.4%
    Expanded air travel to the Pacific has increased tourist traffic in the island nation. While tourism is the main contributor to the economy of Palau, it also thrives from trade and fishing. Palau exports shellfish, tuna, copra (dried coconut kernels for oil making) and garments. Palau has also received about $700 million in aid from the U.S. from 1994-2009 under the Compact of Free Association, in exchange for unrestricted access to Palau’s land and waterways for strategic purposes.
  4. Ivory Coast
    · 2013: 8.7%
    · 2014: 7.9%
    · 2015: 8.6%
    The West African country is the world’s largest producer and exporter of cocoa beans. It is also a large producer and exporter of coffee and palm oil. Over two-thirds of Ivory Coast’s population is employed in agriculture or related activities.
    Though Ivory Coast was plagued by a recession in the ‘90s, a civil war from 2002-2007 and sporadic violence in years following, the country has remained mostly peaceful since 2011. This has attracted foreign investors and promoted economic growth. While the poverty rate has decreased, 46 percent of the population still lives in poverty and a small number of arms still remain in the nation.
  5. Uzbekistan
    · 2013: 8%
    · 2014: 8.1%
    · 2015: 8%
    Formerly part of the Soviet Union, the government of Uzbekistan still operates a command economy, regulating production and prices. Economic growth in Uzbekistan is driven mainly by state-led investments. The majority of the population lives in rural areas and the main focus of agriculture is cotton. Uzbekistan also exports gold and natural gas.

Though these are only the top five of the world’s fastest growing economies from 2013-2015, many other developing nations are not far behind. The economies of Nauru, Laos, India, Tanzania, Cambodia, Burma and the Dominican Republic have also grown quickly in recent years.

Cassie Lipp

Photo: Flickr

flooding in the ivory coast
The Ivory Coast has recently been pummeled by dense downpours as a result of the annual rainy season that sweeps across the entirety of the region. The rain has caused massive flooding in the Ivory Coast, washing away houses and triggering landslides in many places around the country. In early June, 23 people were killed by a particularly bad landslide in Abidjan, the largest city in the country. Hundreds more have been stranded in their homes since the floods started.

The rainy season is nothing new on the continent of Africa, yet every time it arrives tragic events like these continue to happen. According to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 2 deaths were recorded due to flooding in 2013, and between 2009 and 2011 at least 49 were killed. This year it has been projected that up to 80,000 residents in Abidjan could be affected by flooding.

Slums in Abidjan and surrounding areas have been hit particularly hard. Thanks to prior political crises, slums in the city of Abidjan have been constantly expanding and spreading without any sort of oversight. As a result, makeshift living arrangements have been hit especially hard whenever floods or heavy rain occur in the region.

The Ivorian government has been trying to rectify this problem by relocating people out of the slums into safer areas. So far, government officials have offered $2,000 USD to each of the 23 families that lost someone during the most recent landslide, provided they agree to move out of their current home into a safer area. They have also tried to locate 850 hectares of land which would be used to relocate those who currently live in danger of flooding. The military has also been involved, mostly through clean-up efforts but also in a variety of rescue missions.

By far the biggest problem facing these people is where they can relocate to. Those living in slums are already in poverty, and can’t afford to live elsewhere. As a result, a portion of the population remains in the dangerous slums, in the hope that government assistance will arrive.

As the director of the ONPC Kili Fiacre said, “There is no other way. They have to be evicted. We know there is the problem of poverty and it is difficult to relocate the population, but I think we don’t have a choice.”

It remains to be seen how many people will be relocated (by their own choice or otherwise) from their homes in the slums. However, this recent flood is just another reminder of the poor quality of the Ivory Coast’s infrastructure and disaster preparedness. Unless drastic measures are taken, heavy flooding will continue to be a problem  for the country and its citizens.

-Andre Gobbo

Sources: IRIN, Al Jazeera, The Borgen Project
Photo: USA Today

malnutrition_in_Cote_d'Ivore
For the past six years, the rate of chronic child malnutrition in Cote d’Ivoire has remained at a whopping 40 percent. This is slightly higher than the overall population’s malnutrition rate, which is a solid 30 percent. The Ivory Coast, located on the coastal edge of Western Africa, experiences high malnutrition rates due to a multitude of factors including high food prices and inadequate food access, which is a consequence of hot, dry weather.

Tumultuous political circumstances from the early to late 2000s divided Cote d’Ivoire into North and South; rebels then controlled its northern region. As a result, government and public services in the north were wrecked, the economy collapsed and food access was scarcer than ever. Health and food distribution services were no longer functional. Thankfully, in 2008 its government created nutrition centers in the north and east, of which there are now 14.

Yet, the regions exhibiting the highest chronic rate of malnutrition in Cote d’Ivoire are Bafing, Worodougou and Montagnes. Additionally, the Savanes, Worodougou and Montagnes regions exhibit the highest concentrated rates of consequent stunted growth. Widespread national poverty as well as thousands of displaced peoples further complicate the dire circumstances.

It is evident that Cote d’Ivoire’s government lacks the funds necessary to effectively combat its malnutrition problems. A few humanitarian organizations have assisted, most notably Action Against Hunger (ACF) from 2002 to 2011. ACF’s aid ceased abruptly when its funds were depleted. The organization retracted much of its aid and missionaries, a circumstance that somewhat reversed the critical progress it had contributed.

Diarrassouba Issouf, an official at the Family Protection Unit in Korhogo, said that the humanitarian organizations’ exits left primary areas without food and resulted in fewer women visiting nutrition sites.

Cote d’Ivoire’s stagnating and critical malnutrition levels, especially in young children, demands immediate attention. With more international humanitarian assistance and aid, more lasting improvement may be on Cote d’Ivoire’s horizon.

– Arielle Swett

Sources: All Africa, Action Against Hunger, UNICEF
Photo: News Wire

Poverty in Cote D’Ivoire
Cote D’Ivoire, French for “Ivory Coast”, was once the paradigm of economic prosperity and stability for the African continent. Located in West Africa, Cote D’lvoire is one of the world’s leading exporters of coffee and palm oil and once held the title of most prosperous country in West Africa.

However, after the death of the nation’s first president, Houphouët-Boigny, the prized economy of Cote D’Lovire was riddled by insurgencies. Due to internal strife, such as a toll-taking civil war, the nation is now gripped by severe poverty. According to the World Bank, the proportion of the population experiencing poverty skyrocketed between 1983 and 1993, with the poverty ratio increasing from 10.1% to 34.6%. Poverty in Cote D’Ivoire has since steadily increased, with the poverty ratio peaking at 42.7% in 2008.

The extreme poverty in Cote D’Ivoire  is compounded by insufficient resources, leaving Cote D’Ivoire unable to deal with inadequate housing and a growing population. According to Habitat for Humanity, housing in Cote D’lovire has a scarcity of nearly 10,000 houses each year. A significant contributor to this crisis is the process of urbanization- a progression that has lured over half of the population into urban areas such as a towns and cities.

The housing shortage is particularly severe in the rural, underdeveloped areas of the country. These locales lack the necessary tools and infrastructure to provide adequate housing for the residents of Cote D’lvoire. For instance, many residents dwell in traditional edifices composed of vulnerable materials and unsound construction, such as mud, wooden frames, and thatch-roofs. These houses are extremely susceptible to fire and disease, particularly since thatch-roofs attract mosquitos and tsetse flies aggrandize the chances of locals contracting malaria and other lethal and debilitating diseases. Additionally, these frail abodes are typically overpopulated – housing far too many individuals for what the structure itself can naturally support. Over-occupancy of these cramped quarters restricts proper ventilation, promoting a host of other illnesses.

Furthermore, where poverty rears its formidable head, so too does HIV/AIDs. The rate of HIV/AIDs in Cote D’lvoire is among the highest rate of the disease in West Africa. Therefore, by helping to restabilize and rebuild the economy of the Cote D’Lvoire, not only would residents receive proper infrastructure, they would also receive life-saving healthcare measures. The beautiful Cote D’lvoire had once been the gem of the African world, and with adequate support and awareness, the Ivory Coast can someday be restored.

Phoebe Pradhan

Sources: Lonely Planet, Habitat for Humanity, World Bank
Photo: Africa Up Close

Ivory_coast_poverty_history_opt
Côte d’Ivoire, or the Ivory Coast, is a country on the western coast of Africa. First colonized by the French in 1893, the country remained under French control and influence until 1961. In addition to slaves, Côte d’Ivoire was active in the ivory tusk trade, hence its name “Ivory Coast.”

Unlike other African nations, Côte d’Ivoire had three decades of peaceful and prosperous rule following independence from colonialism. Félix Houphouët-Boigny, the first president of Côte d’Ivoire, ruled effectively and made the country into one of the most prosperous in Africa.

With his contacts in France, President Houphouët was able to make better deals in cash crops than his African neighbors. Two of the country’s primary exports were coffee and cocoa. Aside from oil-producing countries, Côte d’Ivoire had the highest per-capita income in the early 1980s.

Côte d’Ivoire’s downfall, however, came at the end of Houphouët’s presidency and life. Nationalistic tension arose when migrants began settling in the northern parts of the country. By 2002, civil war broke out, leaving the once model nation in disarray.

Today, Côte d’Ivoire is one of the top 20 poorest countries in the world. One quarter of its population lives under $1 per day. Even though it still ranks number one in cocoa exports in the world, poor farmers in the northern and western rural areas of the country suffer.

Resources in the country have been exploited for the quick financial return on cash crops. Unregulated environmental procedures have caused over-farming in some areas and made the future of agricultural activities tenuous for the Ivorian people. Poor farmers don’t have the funds to feed themselves and their families, much less send their children to school.

Another issue that plagues Côte d’Ivoire today is a lack of proper healthcare. Following the onset of the civil war, healthcare provision was disrupted. This is likely due to people dispersing within and leaving the country. Services then were provided for free. A lack of healthcare professionals to provide such demand for care overwhelmed the system. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is only 1 doctor per 10,000 people in Côte d’Ivoire.

Like many other countries within the African continent, Côte d’Ivoire is launching initiatives to combat HIV/AIDS. It has one of the highest prevalence rates of HIV/AIDS in western Africa. Malaria and Tuberculosis also major problems for the country.

There is, however, hope for the people of Côte d’Ivoire. The Poverty Reduction Strategy Programme (PRSP) was launched to reduce poverty rates by providing channels for better governance, creating partnerships with the private sector to stimulate growth, and improving access to social services. It also is taking measures to lessen inequalities between varying populations.

In conjunction with ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States), the Ivory Coast’s government has implemented an agricultural policy that includes addressing the sustainable environmental issues within the country.

– Aysha Rasool
Feature Writer

Source: Our Africa: History, Our Africa: Poverty, Rural Poverty Portal
Photo: Doors of Perception,

Fair Trade Chocolate
Chocolate, called “xocoatl” by the Aztecs hundreds of years ago, has historically been a staple in life to many millions of people.

Cacao concoctions were drunk by Mayan royalty, lauded as a gift from the gods, and was even used as currency by the Aztecs as early as the 1500s.

Today’s chocolate is also worth a lot of money. Recent estimates of chocolate consumption patterns around the week of Valentine’s Day say that “consumers will buy more than 58 million pounds of chocolate candy, racking in $345 million in sales and accounting for 5.1% of total annual sales” in the United States alone, reports Sylvia Camaj of PolicyMic.

The history of chocolate has also always included a dark side, however.

Scholars know that Mayan and Aztec ritual regarded cacao beans as an essential element in some capacity; whether the ritual was religious, concerned life or death, did or did not involve the sacrifice of human life – cacao was seen as a representation of divinity.

Today’s dark side of chocolate stems primarily from the statistic that 40% of the world’s cocoa, produced for major companies such as Hershey, Nestle, Mars, Kraft, and Dove, comes from plantations in Africa’s Ivory Coast and Ghana, and is responsible for the trafficking of an estimated 109,000 children, says the State Department. The children suffer terrible abuse for their work, beating beaten and working long hours while being exposed to dangerous and stunting pesticides and equipment.

However, smart and dedicated consumers are demanding change from these multi-national companies, and the companies are responding. When Cadbury was bought by Kraft in 2010, Kraft promised “to honor Cadbury’s commitment to Fair Trade cocoa sourcing. Nestle has also committed to buying chocolate that meets international labor rights standards.” Hershey has made similar commitments, although the company still has much work to do regarding their Fair Trade labor practices.

Consumers pressuring companies into morally correct business practices is a healthy, growing global trend that must receive continued attention and support from the international community. A commitment to Fair Trade products helps companies achieve a better moral standing with consumers. They can then be seen as more credible producers.

An example of a global company adopting Fair Trade production is Starbucks, a global giant in coffee that has committed to streamlining several of their beans purely from Fair Trade sources.

Learn more about Fair Trade from Oxfam International.

– Nina Narang

Sources: PolicyMic, Smithsonian
Photo: Urban Earthworm