In December 1999, a military coup, the first ever in the Ivory Coast's history, overthrew the government. Since then, the country has been plagued with political turmoil. In April 2011, after widespread fighting, former President Laurent Gbagbo was formally forced from office after a 6-month standoff where he refused to hand over power to Alassane Dramane Ouattara who was elected to replace him in office in November 2010. Several thousand UN troops and several hundred French forces remain in the Ivory Coast to support the transition process.
- Children only attend school on average until age 6 and only 49% of the population is literate.
- The official language of the Ivory Coast is French. There are also 60 native dialects spoken.
- 37% of the population are Muslim, 33% Christian, 12% indigenous, and 17% do not practice a religion.
- The Ivory Coast is the world's largest producer and exporter of cocoa beans and a significant producer and exporter of coffee and palm oil.
- Only 282,000 people use a landline phones while 13.4 million people use cell phones. Only 967,300 people have access to the internet.
(Source: CIA World Factbook)