The whole village of Gueyede in south-west Côte d’Ivoire gathers under the tattered roof of a shelter as the rain drizzles outside, and listens carefully as sub-prefect Kouassi Koffi talks.
François Kouamé, prisoner Number 67, proudly shows off a sow and her four piglets. Dressed in his rubber boots, he passes by two new tractors as he happily makes his way to a field where pretty soon cassava and corn plants will start growing. “Look at those sprouts. It is a lot of work!”
Two years ago, it would have taken Catherine Adjoua almost an hour to travel from M’Badon, the isolated fishing area where she lives that has no asphalt roads, to reach her workplace some 13 kilometres away in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire’s economic capital.
Jonas Sanhin Touan has big dreams. As he sits under a canopy, he greets the rare tourist to Gouleako, one of the many villages near the entrance of Côte d’Ivoire’s Taï National Park, with a meal.
When Ivorian Thierry N’Doufou saw local school kids suffering under the weight of their backpacks full of textbooks, it sparked an idea of how to close the digital gap where it is the largest — in local schoolrooms.
“I’m middle class. Definitively,” Sonia Anoh, a young and independent 30-year-old Ivorian tells IPS. Anoh has a master’s degree, earns 1,470 dollars a month working in marketing, lives alone, owns a car and is now shopping for a home.
In West Africa, the Malian and Ivorian political crises have resulted in the biggest number of refugees in the region. But brewing insecurity could mean that they will be unable to return home any time soon as armed groups remain a threat to West Africa.
Armand Konan stood in front of the Palais des Sports, a stadium in Abidjan’s popular neighbourhood, Treichville, selling videos and speeches of former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo. “People need to remember what our president said...He is our president. And we want him back,” Konan told IPS.
In Cote d'Ivoire, traditional hunters known as dozos are accused of human rights abuses and extortion. But in several areas, they also remain the sole guarantor of local safety.
All over the Ivorian economic capital, Abidjan, large cranes, involved in the construction of new buildings and highways, are dotted across the city skyline.
At the Cocody-Anono community health centre, south-east of the Ivorian economic capital of Abidjan, Bertine Bahi* regularly attends awareness sessions on Preventing Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) for women living with HIV.
“We are sad. We want our president back,” Yao Amandine told IPS from a street corner in the Ivorian economic metropolis, Abidjan, after the International Criminal Court ruled against granting former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo a conditional release on Tuesday.
Despite the United Nations' "zero tolerance" policy against sexual violence, there has been a rash of gender-based crimes in several of the world's conflict zones, including South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Northern Uganda, Somalia, the Central African Republic - and, more recently, in politically-troubled Egypt and Syria.
As the Côte d’Ivoire government clears its protected forests of illegal occupiers, particularly in the Dix-Huit Montagnes region, environmentalists say that this crucial move might lead to conflict in an already tense region.
Last week’s local elections in Côte d’Ivoire were supposed to be a contest between members of the current governing coalition. But in municipal races, independent candidates claimed more seats than either of the coalition’s two main parties, suggesting possible dissatisfaction with President Alasanne Ouattara at the local level.