Côte d’Ivoire is a west African country strategically located along Africa’s Atlantic coast. The name is French for the Ivory Coast. During the 15th and 16th century, the French divided the West Coast of Africa into four distinct divisions based off the trade they used it for. In addition to Côte d’Ivoire, there was the “Grain Coast” (present-day Liberia), the “Gold Coast” (Ghana), and the “Slave Coast” (Togo, Benin and Nigeria).
Côte d’Ivoire became a French colony in the 1880s and still maintains strong ties with France. Due to its ports and rich climate, the French invested heavily in Côte d’Ivoire and built a large number of plantations and infrastructure. Today, Côte d’Ivoire is one of the richest countries in West Africa and is a major political player, especially among the French speaking countries of West Africa. It is the World’s largest exporter of cocoa bean and the fourth-largest exporter of goods, in general, in sub-Saharan Africa.
Over 26 million people live in Côte d’Ivoire. There are also a large number of workers from neighboring countries that come to work on the plantations. French is the official language, but Jula and Bété are more commonly spoken as trade languages among the people. It is estimated that 43% of the population follows Islam. The leaders of Islam here are called marabouts, which are a mixture of imams and witchdoctors. They provide fetishes and claim to have the power to heal and curse people. Catholicism was introduced by the French and is followed by roughly 17% of the population. In the capital city of Yamoussoukro is a catholic church, the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace, that is considered one of the largest church buildings in the world at 320,000 sq ft.
Côte d’Ivoire is an excellent example of how investing in a country can make a big difference in its future. Many of these African countries are ripe for a harvest, but the people of God need to step up and make big investments for Christ. The most important investment that you can make is to give your life for God in one of these countries!