Special Sub-Topic: Cote d'Ivoire, Land of Hope
|The Republic of Cote d'Ivoire (sometimes referred to as the Ivory Coast) is a country in the western part of the continent of Africa. On what body of water does it have a coastline?|
Gulf of Guinea. The Gulf of Guinea, which forms the southern border of Cote d'Ivoire, is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean. The origin of the name is unclear, but may be related to the name applied to the entire region called Guinea which extends from the Gulf of Guinea north to the Sahel (the transition zone between the savannas and the Sahara desert). European traders identified different parts of Guinea according to their products: Benin and Nigeria on the east were part of the Slave Coast; Ghana was the Gold Coast; further west was the Ivory Coast, then the Pepper Coast, now Liberia and Sierra Leone. Trade during the 18th century led to the establishment of wealthy native kingdoms. Their power, the poor harbours on the Ivoirian coast, and the difficult disease-ridden environment, meant that colonization of this region did not really occur until the end of the 19th century.
|Which of these countries has a land border with Cote d'Ivoire?
Hint: If you click on the image, you can see a larger version whhich is easier to read.|
Burkina Faso. Five countries share land borders with Cote d'Ivoire. Starting in the southwest and traveling clockwise, they are Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana. Like Cote d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso was colonized by the French before attaining independence in the middle of the 20th century. Guinea (sometimes known as Guinea-Conakry to distinguish it from its neighbour, Guinea-Bissau) and Mali were also French colonies, but Ghana was a British colony, and Liberia was one of the only countries in sub-Saharan Africa never to be colonized by a European nation. Liberia was settled by freed slaves from the United States in the 1820s.
|Which of the following is a general description of the terrain of Cote d'Ivoire?
Hint: If you click the image, it may be easier to read some relevant information.|
Elevation increases fairly steadily from south to north. While the country's very highest region is in the west, most of the country changes from coastal lowlands (green on the map) covered in dense forests, through a gentle and regular increase of elevation to a high plateau in the north which is around 500 m (1650 ft) above sea level (brown on the map). The land is generally flat or gently rolling hills, except for the mountainous region in the west (dark brown and white on the map).
|What is the name of the largest lake in Cote d'Ivoire, which was created in 1973?
Hint: If you enlarge the image by clicking on it, you may be able to see some useful information.|
Kossou. Lake Kossou, near the centre of the country, was created when the Bandama River was dammed at Kossou. The dam was built to support the Kossou power station, a hydroelectric power plant that generates over 175 MW of electricity, and is the principal electricity source for the country's capital, Yamoussoukro. Around 85,000 native residents were displaced by the project. The country's second-largest lake, Lake Buyo, is also an artificial lake, constructed when the Sassandra River was dammed at Buyo in 1980. The Komoe is the third of Cote d'Ivoire's major rivers, forming part of the border with Burkina Faso before running south to the Gulf of Guinea near Abidjan, the country's largest city.
|The highest point of Cote d'Ivoire is also the highest point of two neighbouring countries. What is its name?|
Mount Nimba. Actually, Monts Nimba refers to the entire range, but the name is sometimes also used to refer to the highest peak, which is also called Mount Richard-Molard, named after a French geographer who died there in 1951, and Mount Nouon. The Nimba Range covers parts of Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea and Liberia. Its highest point, at 1750 m (5,750 ft) is the highest point of both all three countries.
The parts of the Nimba Range in Cote d'Ivoire and Guinea are a World Heritage Site, with no tourism allowed. The Liberian portion of the range has been extensively mined for iron ore, but the deposit is essentially depleted, and there are negotiations underway to include the rest of the Nimba Range in the Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve.
|Cote d'Ivoire has a flag with three colors - orange, white and green - in vertical stripes. The arrangement of the colours is intended to recall the flag of the European nation which colonized Cote d'Ivoire, and left its language as the national language of the country. What is the official language of Cote d'Ivoire?|
French. The French name of the country should be a good hint, even if the tricolour flag doesn't suggest the French flag. France controlled Cote d'Ivoire as a protectorate from 1843 to 1893, when it became a French colony until it achieved independence in 1960. While French remains the official language, and the language taught in schools, so that it can be used by people with no other common language, there are over 50 languages spoken in daily use in various parts of the country. One of the other widespread languages is Dioula, which is used as a regional trading language in a number of West African countries.
|The coat of arms of Cote d'Ivoire includes a symbol representing one of the country's earliest economic resources. Which symbol is this?|
Elephant's head. The elephant is on the shield at the centre of the Ivoirian coat of arms because it is the country's largest native animal, and because elephants produce the ivory for which the country is named. The two supporting palm trees (type not identified) represent the dense forest which characterizes much of the country. The rising sun on the top of the shield is a symbol of a new beginning, as was optimistically anticipated when the coat of arms was adopted in 2001.
Ivory trade has had a severe impact on the elephant populations in Africa. North Africa lost its elephants by around 1000 CE; herds in South Africa were decimated in the 19th century, and West African elephants are under serious threat at the start of the 21st century. Despite official bans on hunting elephants for ivory, and on the export of ivory, poaching continues.
|Here's one for the sweet toothed members of the audience. Following independence, Cote d'Ivoire maintained its relatively (for the region) strong economy because it was able to export large quantities of coffee as well as becoming the world's leading exporter of what other product?|
Cocoa. In 1960, Cote d'Ivoire was one of the wealthiest nations in West Africa, and continued development of its agricultural exports ensured continued dominance through the 60s and 70s. It was one of the world's top five exporters of coffee, and the leader in cocoa. These remained significant crops in the early 21st century, but they were increasingly uncertain commodities in turns of demand and export value, so the nation turned to other agricultural products, including palm oil, pineapples and rubber. Oil and gas production have also become significant contributors to the national economy.
|One of Cote d'Ivoire's more pressing environmental issues in the early years of the 21st century has been the result of one of its significant industries, developed since independence to help counteract the volatility of the market for its food exports. Which industry has had a dramatic impact on the landscape of Cote d'Ivoire?|
Timber industry. Tropical woods are one of the nation's major export products. Between 1960 and 1985, over three quarters of the nation's woodlands disappeared. Despite governmental attempts to control it, illegal logging continues to cause extensive deforestation. Originally, the major timber logged was mahogany, but over 25 species are now harvested, including teak, cedar and pine.
While there is a significant amount of fishing in the Gulf of Guinea, especially from the city of Abidjan, it has not yet been seen to produce a significant environmental impact. The petrochemical industry is not large enough to have anything other than a minor environmental impact at the start of the 21st century, and the amount of available petroleum makes it unlikely to ever become a major issue. Telecommunications is not a domestic Ivoirian industry.
|One of the only regions of Cote d'Ivoire whose forests remain intact is the Tai National Park, located near the border with Liberia. It is home to a number of threatened mammalian species, including which of the following?|
Pygmy hippopotamus. All of the other species listed as options are on the Least Concern list, which means they have been evaluated and found to be at no significant risk of extinction at the present time. The pygmy hippopotamus, however, is categorized as endangered (code orange) on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) list of endangered species. Other species in the Tai National Park on the list include Van Beden's colobus monkeys and leopards (near-threatened), as well as chimpanzees and the gidi-gidi, a small antelope (both endangered).
The Tai Forest was established as a reserve in 1926, became a National Park in 1972, was identified as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1978, and was listed as a World Heritage Site in 1982. One of the last remaining fragments of the Upper Guinean rainforest which once covered much of West Africa, it houses a vast variety of plant and animal species.
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