Côte d’Ivoire has experienced more than 10 years of political and military crisis, punctuated by a brief armed conflict that divided the country in 2002. The long-awaited November 2010 presidential elections intended to unify the country were deeply contested and resulted in political turmoil, causing widespread violence and temporarily displacing 500,000 to 700,000 people within the country and in neighbouring countries. While the entire population felt the effects of economic and political instability, the western region has been hit the hardest, as violent clashes between two military forces has caused displacement and destroyed public and private assets. With a new government in place, the country is heading progressively towards reconciliation and stability, though insecurity and land tenure continue to threaten some areas, particularly in the West.
Côte d’Ivoire ranks 168 out of 186 countries in the 2013 UNDP Human Development Index, and over 23 percent of the population lives below the international poverty line of US$1.25 per day. Primary school enrolment remains low (50 percent), and the country has the highest rates of HIV in West Africa at 3.7 percent. A July 2012 nation-wide Demographic, Health and Multi-indicators Survey (EDSCI III) conducted by the Ministry of Health and AIDS control and partners revealed a national Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) rate among children 0-59 months of 7.1 percent (up from 5.4 percent in 2011), with the highest levels in the North-East region (11 percent), above the threshold considered “serious.” GAM rates are above “acceptable” levels in all but the Centre-North region.
In the fragile western part of the country, all IDPs are said to have returned to their places of origin. At the peak of the crisis, more than 220,000 Ivorians had fled to Liberia, but most have returned, according to UNHCR. Approximately 60,000refugees remain in Liberia.