The Ivory Coast Political Crisis of 2010: State of Play and Outlook

6. 29. 2020

African political crises are the result of an accumulation of abrupt or often inappropriate structural transformations since their independence until 2020. We successively went from the single-party after independence (from the 60s and 90s) to multi-partyism (from the 90s to this day). The legal texts were easy to write in their constitution inspired by that of the former colonizers. However, their application did not take into account the cultural realities and traditional practices of the African people. These contradictions continue today to negatively impact the issue of governance in Africa


Our main objective will be to understand and explain how the Ivorian crisis of 2010 gradually turned into a crisis of confidence, leading to the distrust of the political leaders in power by the opposition. We will collect secondary data in the literature on historical factors first. We will summarize the consequences of the violent Ivorian crisis of 2010 before explaining through primary data from our field survey how this political crisis has become a crisis of confidence and mistrust.

To understand and better explain the political situation in Côte d'Ivoire, which is similar to most West African countries, we must review the historical factors linked to this country. After independence, Africa gradually took over its political, economic, and social destiny.

1. The evolution of the African political sphere

Table 1: Transformation of the political sphere in West Africa (source DOUKOURE,2020)

From its independence until 2020, we have always found that Africa has struggled to find the right formulas to apply legal texts inspired by a different context, that of the former colonizers.

An example of a political crisis: is the Ivorian political crisis of 2010. The Ivorian political crisis of 2010 remains the deadliest in its history, as it officially killed more than 3,000 people and countless other people. This crisis has caused negative economic growth. GDP went from 2.02% in 2010 to -4.39% in 2011. This crisis has very deep origins.

Table 2: The root causes of the 2010 political crisis in Côte d‘Ivoire.

2. From the political crisis to the crisis of confidence: a case study of the Ivorian crisis

After the 2010 crisis, the Ivorians joined the political party led by their ethnic group. The Ivory Coast has indeed more than 61 ethnic groups but the main ethnic groups now correspond to the main political parties: the Ivorian national front (FPI) led by Laurent Gbagbo who is a bete, the Democratic Party of Côte d'Ivoire (PDCI) led by Henri Konan Bédié who is Baoulé and the rally of republicaions (RDR) led by Alassane Dramane Ouattara who is Dioula. These three political parties represent 95% of the population. 

To conduct our study we took 50 people from the 3 main political parties and 50 people from the other small parties. We interviewed 200 Ivorians around the question of possible national unity.

Our sample.

The questions addressed.

Analysis of the results and conclusion

In conclusion, we note that the votes are no longer ideological but ethnic.

3. What can be done to improve the situation in Africa?

  • Good governance 
  • Take into account cultural differences and practices in the application of a democracy copied from the West 
  • Improve collaboration between regions and ethnic groups 
  • Develop regions on the same basis
  • Decentralize administrations 
  • Hamornising the fight against terrorism 
  • Improve national education by multiplying professional public establishments 
  • Fight against corruption 
  • Fight against inequalities 
  • Set up assistance funds for business creation

Africa gradually took control of its political destiny until the advent of the multiparty era in the 1990s. Since that time, political parties have multiplied and leaders are faced with blocks of opponents funded by new western states entering the continent's political landscape. Pressure is mounting on leaders who must gradually break away from the monopoly of contracts held by the former colonizers and obey the rule of market supply and demand. Which is not always easy because they are often lifetime collaboration contracts. On the other hand, African society is emancipated and educated, the leaders must then account for their policies. This again is a new exercise that remains complex. All these changes will be the cause of coups, civil wars in certain countries, and political crises. The violent Ivorian political crisis is a perfect illustration of this. This crisis, which has a deep historical root, has gradually turned into a crisis of confidence and distrust of political leaders. All this makes permanent a possibility of political risk or even of political crisis.

Author: Youssouf Doukoure, a student at LIGS University, under the supervision of Prof. Vladimir Biruk


Application for study

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