Côte d’Ivoire, a former French colony, had one of the most developed economies in West Africa until late 1999, when a coup and subsequent failed elections plunged the nation into civil war.
The beginning of 2003 saw the first attempt at reunification, when the country’s opposing political factions signed the French-brokered Linas-Marcoussis Accord (LMA), agreeing to a power-sharing government. An “End of War” declaration was signed, which recognized then-President Laurent Gbagbo’s authority and committed to focus on a program of disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, reintegration, and resettlement (DDRRR) of former combatants.
Relative stability followed until 2010, when presidential elections, which had been postponed repeatedly since 2005, were finally scheduled to take place. Following a run-off in November between the top two vote-getters—incumbent President Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara—Mr. Ouattara was certified as the winner by the UN, which helped facilitate the electoral process. However, Mr. Gbagbo refused to relinquish power, and launched a violent campaign against supporters of Mr. Ouattara. During the four-month crisis that followed, nearly 1 million people were displaced from their homes and 3,000 killed, mostly civilians. The political impasse ended with the arrest of Mr. Gbagbo, supported by UN and French forces, and the inauguration of Mr. Ouattara as President on May 21, 2011.
During a routine patrol in 2012, an unidentified militia attacked and killed 7 UN peacekeepers and 8 civilians. This outburst sent thousands fleeing, mostly into neighboring Liberia. UNOCI and the UN Mission in Liberia cooperated to manage the security of the border. Despite this incident, however, and the overall fragility of the security and political situation in Côte d’Ivoire, the country has experienced some important gains in stability and economic recovery since 2011. In elections held in October 2015, Mr. Ouattara was reelected President.