In the past few months, the people’s revolutions in North Africa have received a whole lot of press. However, the issues that have plagued the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa have largely been ignored. The most obvious example of this ignorance can be seen in the media’s treatment of Ivory Coast.
Ivory Coast is a West African nation that was a former French colony until 1960 and a leading cocoa producer in the world. After 1960, the country quickly became one of the shining beacons of economic and democratic success in West Africa, until 2002 when a civil war broke out. Eventually things became peaceful again, until November 2010 when Ivory Coast held another election.
The results of this election proved extraordinarily complicated. Essentially, President Laurent Gbagbo ran for re-election against former Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara and the rest is up for debate. The Electoral Commission claims that Outtara won 54 percent of the vote.
However, many people have suggested that the election was a fraud and that France only wants Ouattara in place because his views align with their interests. Thus, President Gbagbo and Ouattara were both sworn in at separate ceremonies, and neither will acknowledge the other’s presidency. Furthermore, the divide between Gbagbo and Ouattara supporters has led to violence, including the death of nearly 500 people and the displacement of nearly a million people.
In addition, the United States has cut all economic ties with Ivory Coast in an attempt to remove Gbagbo from power. Yet, their actions have only led to more violence and rising chocolate prices.