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  • There's a really strange fact about Michael Jackson in this video. You'll have to find out by watching this video.

  • Ha! You can't click away. I got you curious!

  • [Maniacal laugh]

  • [Intro]

  • [Barby is speaking French, but some people (including us, the English subtitle makers) can't understand what he's saying]

  • Whew! Three months of Duolingo. Ha! I love this app.

  • [Political Geography]

  • Now if you don't know anything about Ivory Coast, basically, it's like Ghana's French-speaking rival in the land of chocolate.

  • So anyway, the Ivory Coast is located in West Africa bordered by five other countries and the Gulf of Guinea to the south.

  • The country is divided into twelve districts, plus two district levels autonomous cities.

  • Each of these cities is kind of considered like a capital, making Ivory Coast a dual capital country.

  • The first one being Abidjan, the largest city along the coast known as the

  • economic capital, and Yamoussoukro the political capital with all the government buildings,

  • which was deliberately built to centralize the location of political power.

  • The weird thing is, although the cities have mayors, since 2011,

  • The twelve non-autonomous districts still have yet to appoint governors,

  • (So technically, by legal definition, the districts are more like theoretical entities rather than actual functioning ones.

  • And if you really think about it, that kind of means they don't actually exist.) It's like:

  • "Hey, let's split this pie." "Sure!" "Now in my head, I split it into two pieces, you have to guess where I cut it..."

  • (Confused silence)

  • After Abidjan, known as the Paris of Africa, the second largest city would be Bouaké and Daloa,

  • which also have the largest and only two international airports being Abidjan/Félix Houphouët-Boigny International

  • and Bouake International. The borders with Liberia mostly run along the Cavally and

  • Cestos rivers; Leraba with Burkina Faso and a portion of the Black Volta with Ghana. Keep in mind that much like Ghana historically before

  • European colonialism, the Ivory Coast was split into various kingdoms and tribal territory clusters.

  • Which if we really want to get technical looks like this (talking about map)

  • But if we really want to summarize the parent groups it looks a little bit something like this with four-ish main branches:

  • the Kwa, the Kru, the Gur, and the Mande.

  • The Kwa branch's Akan peoples are kind of like the cousins of the Ashanti people that we mentioned in the Ghana episode.

  • And they make up the largest group in the Ivory Coast.

  • The most notable try being the Baoulê founded by Queen Puku.

  • Oh and at one point in the late 60s, the Sanwi people tried to break away become independent.

  • And I'm not even joking, they declared Michael Jackson to be their king in 1992.

  • So if there's one thing you need to take away from this episode it's that: Michael Jackson literally was a king in Africa.

  • Anyway, surprisingly the country doesn't really have any offshore islands or islets

  • The only real islands can be found around Abidjan Lagoon. The cool thing though is that most of

  • Ivory Coast's 'Coasts'...

  • (That sounds a little weird) has wonderful open unspoiled beaches.

  • The bad news is almost all of it is inaccessible due to the choppy river estuaries and lack of natural ports,

  • hindering the development of beach towns. That means that other than Abidjan, there are virtually no coastal roads.

  • Otherwise some top notable sites of the Ivory Coast might include places like

  • Any of the National Parks like the largest one Comoé

  • St.Paul's Cathedral, The Civilian Museum, The Crocodile House, The Jardin Botanique de Bingerville, Paradisia Abidjan,

  • Sassandra has a ton of historical buildings and monuments. The beaches of Grand-Bassam, the waterfalls at Man, the Pyramid Building and finally

  • The Basilique Notre-Dam de la Paix or the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace the largest Basilica in the world

  • larger than St. Peter's in the Vatican. Sweet! I think that just about covers all of it. And speaking of sweet,

  • let's get chocolatey.

  • [Physical Geography]

  • The Ivory Coast got its name from the historically major export of Ivory back centuries ago before it became super illegal. But in all honesty,

  • It should be called the Cocoa Coast. He he, that sounds better, Cocoa Coast or en Françaiste d'Cocao.

  • Even that sounds cool!

  • Anyway!

  • The Ivory Coast lies on the Sub-Saharan Africa and much like all the other West African countries,

  • the land is mostly flat with undulating Plains in the South with lush tropical forest

  • whereas the northern regions are drier and semi-arid savannas and grasslands.

  • Basically: By the coast, humid most. Northward bound, drier ground. Keep in mind that rule doesn't apply everywhere.

  • Namibia be like: By the coast, Dry. Northward, Dryer!

  • As mentioned before, the highest point in the West is mountain Nimba, which is basically the African version of South America's mount Roraima

  • which is like the peak shared by three countries. The country is fed by three main rivers and their estuaries, the Sassandra

  • The Komoé and the longest river the Bandama which flows into the largest lake in the central part of the country, Lake Kossou,

  • which was artificially created after the Kossou Dam was built on the river in 1973.

  • Because water is pretty much everywhere, this allows Ivory Coast to flourish in flora and fauna with over 1200 animal species and 4700 plants.

  • Everything from Jackals, Monkeys , Chameleons , Panthers , Pygmy hippopotamus and the national animal the African elephant can be found.

  • Despite the abundance of water, only about 10 percent of the land is arable as about a third of the country is forested.

  • Nonetheless, 75% of the workforce Uses that arable land to grow

  • everything from coffee, oil palms, rubber, and their pride enjoy the national crop

  • that they are the number one producer in the world: cocoa. Since they export so much about 25% of all exports in total,

  • chances are, without even knowing it, you may have already in some kind of chocolate confection made from cocoa grown here.

  • It's such a common commodity that half the time

  • farmers don't even know what it's used for. They've never had chocolate.

  • They just grow it because they know it's an in-demand product.

  • vPro metropolis did a great video showing a cocoa farmer who tried chocolate for the first time.

  • Check it out. It's a great video. It's a cool report.

  • But going back to food, dishes in the Ivory Coast pretty much follow the same West African format.

  • You know lots of Cassavas, Plantains, Slow simmered stews and sauces with peanuts grilled or dried fish and chicken.

  • However two things they definitely specialize in and love are, Attieke cassava mash with Kedjenou stew

  • and the famous Ivorian land snails which can grow huge and are typically grilled or eaten with sauce. The interesting thing is that

  • even after two civil wars in the 21st century, the Ivory Coast still moves forward as the largest economy in the

  • West African Economic Monetary Union. which is basically the french-speaking countries of ECOWAS.

  • Guinea-Bissau: Hey!

  • Oh whatever, all your people are like quadrilingual!

  • I'm pretty sure you speak enough French to get by.

  • By the way ECOWAS has a really cool looking headquarters building in Togo.

  • Anyway, yeah.

  • The Ivory Coast actually didn't fall in the same pattern of many other African states in which a government uprising led to a dictator that ruined everything.

  • One man actually kind of got things moving along, and we'll talk more about him in

  • [Demographics]

  • Okay first of all, Ivorian, that's what you call these people: Ivorians

  • not Ivory Coastians!

  • Just getting that little PSA out there. Anyway!

  • The country has about 25 million people and has about 60 different tribes. These tribes are divided into

  • five principal ethnic groups: The largest one being the Akan people at about 42%,

  • The Gurs at about 18%, the Northern Mandes at about 16%

  • Krous at about 11% and Southern Mandes at 10%. Whereas the rest are made up of other people groups mostly other

  • Africans from abroad and non Africans like Lebanese and French people. They use the West African CFA franc as their currency

  • They use a type C plug outlet

  • And they drive on the right side of the road. Now the Ivorian people are quite diverse

  • However as a former French colony, the French language kind of unites them all. Nonetheless out of the 65 ish languages spoken throughout the country,

  • The Kwa language have the most speakers and the second probably belongs to the Dyula language in the West which is related to the

  • Mande and Mandinka languages that we already discussed in The Gambia and Guinea episodes.

  • Which is sometimes written in the cool-looking and N'ko script created by this guy in 1949 making one of the few indigenous African writing systems.

  • See small stuff like that. That's why I love this show!

  • I have the best job ever! Religion plays an interesting role as about a third of the population

  • identifies as Christian or Catholic. About 39% are Muslim while 1/4 are animists. All three of these groups live alongside each other relatively peaceful.

  • In a nutshell during the tribal Kingdom eras, Muslim traders came in from the north around the first millennia. Around the 15th century,

  • Portuguese and French people stopped by and started trading. The French got a little overprotective

  • because they didn't want the English to dominate the Gulf of Guinea.

  • Then there was that short lived Wassoulou Empire that tried to revolt. This guy became the father of Independence

  • and in 1960 they broke free from the French. From there, he became the leader for about 33 years

  • However things were actually in contrast to other African states, pretty good.

  • I mean sure he had some controversies

  • but overall, the country became the most prosperous in West Africa. People were living better, the economy was booming.

  • I mean technically he was a dictator

  • But he kind of didn't suck. Then the 90s came and his successor totally sucked.

  • Long story short, 1999 coup d'etat, then this guy stepped in. Then this guy was elected. Things got worse,

  • 2002 civil war, things got worse. 2010 elections, This guy was voted in.

  • Then there was a short second civil war but then things kind of calmed down and the economy is back and booming again.

  • It's weird. It's like the whole time all these wars were happening,

  • they were still maintaining composure and doing international business.

  • And that's kind of the theme of the Ivory Coast. A little war can't hurt them. After president Ouattara took over, he actually did kind of a good job

  • doubling the infrastructure budget from 15% to over 30% and the economy grew at its peak at around 9% regularly.

  • They were like: Look people, we don't have time for this, which one do you like? Guns or money?

  • Hmmmm...

  • Nehh... money

  • Otherwise the Ivory Coast is laden with amazing colorful tribes, traditions and customs.

  • Some of the most notable tribes being the Bilfo tribe with their Adobe clay houses

  • The Dan tribe with their spinning warrior and stilt dances.

  • The acrobatics of the Korhogo tribe, the terracotta funerals by the Akan people, the Senufo people with their rich Korhogo cloth,

  • The Yacouba girl juggling dance,

  • The Baoulé tribe loves brass art. Many tribes come together for the hugete du masques or the mask festival which is the biggest one in the country.

  • There's also thete du dipri in Gomon where people run around naked at midnight.

  • You're never short of music and art. In fact the Ivorian movie,

  • Black and White in Color became the first winner of an Oscar by a Black Republic.

  • Abidjan is also kind of seen as like the fashion capital of

  • Sub-saharan Africa both in western and native designs. Due to their close ties to France, the latest get ups can be found on runways and

  • boutiques all across the city. Some notable people have ivorian descent from the Ivory Coast might include people like:

  • Their only gold medal winner Cheick Sallah Cisse,

  • Alpha Blondy, actor Bambadjan Bamba, Constance Amiot, Sidiki Bakaba

  • Ahmadou Kourouma, Bernard B Dadié, Vetcho Lolas, the pride and glory of the Ivory Coast, Didier Drogba.

  • In the end, the Ivory Coast knows how to manage themselves and dust off pretty well with a touch of class.

  • Let's see how classy they are with others.

  • [Friendzone]

  • No surprise, the Ivory Coast is a West African Powerhouse that has high position of authority of influence in the region.

  • First of all, the country generally gets along with the other Francophone neighbors around them.

  • Espacially landlocked Burkina Faso and Mali as they kind of act as like the Gateway to the ocean for them and their trade needs.

  • Ghana is like their closest frenemy.

  • They share some of the same tribes and people groups. Business is always moving back and forth between them

  • but when it comes to regional dominance, the Ivory Coast will never hesitate to push Ghana out of the spotlight.

  • There was even that time in the 90s when a riot broke out over a soccer match between the two. When it comes to their best friends

  • however, surprisingly many might say France. The Ivory Coast has always had like a

  • privileged role as like the jewel of France's African relations. Their founding father insisted relations be maintained.

  • Presidents have visited each other, their militaries have cooperated in conflicts.

  • Numerous citizens on both sides have immigrated to each other's countries,

  • and they love sharing everything from cuisine to the latest fall fashion line.

  • In conclusion, the Ivory Coast kind of fell into a reputation crisis

  • in which they were like: Look guys, we were doing so well for decades.

  • We are not going to end up like all the other African countries that let war destroy them.

  • Now shut up and start making money!

  • Stay tuned, Jamaica is coming up next!

There's a really strange fact about Michael Jackson in this video. You'll have to find out by watching this video.

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B1 ivory coast ivory coast african french ghana

Geography Now! Ivory Coast (Côte D'ivoire)

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/03/28
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