God Is Almighty in Côte d’Ivoire

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In December 2014 I visited my sister in Côte d’Ivoire, also known as Ivory Coast. What struck me, is how religious people are.

Côte d’Ivoire country gained independence from France in 1960. Contrary to other African countries, the divorce was pretty amicable. The first president of Côte d’Ivoire, Félix Houphouët-Boigny, even appointed a Frenchman as the minister for Finance and Planning, Raphaël Saller.

This shows. Côte d’Ivoire is a more prosperous African country and infrastructure is really decent.

Tourism?

Côte d’Ivoire and specifically Abidjan are a trade hub in West Africa. But tourism wise, there’s honestly not much too see. For gorillas you must go to the Congo, Rwanda or Burundi. Safaris are done in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa or Botswana.

No, Côte d’Ivoire is not a tourists’ favourite.

“God bless you”

But what I did notice in Côte d’Ivoire is the piety of people. “Que Dieu vous bénisse” (“God bless you”) are no hollow words there. In every conversation God will be mentioned many times. About 39% of Ivorians is muslim, 33% christian.

As a secularized miscreant from the very ethically liberal Kingdom of Belgium, it’s quite intimidating.

God is everywhere. Even on cars. Unfortunately I don’t have the nicest quote on photo. A car sported the slogan “Dieu Pantocrate“, fancy French for “God Almighty”.

Other slogans I saw include “God is in control”, “The Eternal s God”. Another one was cuter: “I thank my mummy”.

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Size matters

During my stay in Ivory Coast we mostly stayed in Abidjan. But one day my sister took me to Yamoussoukro, the capital. The motorway is of great quality. It looks and feels like a French autoroute.

The main landmark of the capital is the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace. Its architecture is inspired by Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome, but it’s larger. It’s at odds with its surroundings.

It does fit the country’s piety though.

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