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In Edmonton, Côte d’Ivoire in the spotlight

In Edmonton, a large part of the Francophone immigrant community comes from this West African state. October 17, Francophonie Albertaine Plurielle (FRAP), an organization responsible for welcoming and settling newcomers to Edmonton and Fort McMuray, put this country in the spotlight during an intercultural day. Because multiculturalism is an asset, Le Franco presents Côte d’Ivoire in five points.

Carol Offi

Illustrative photo. Credit: David Peterson / Pixabay

1- The Ivorian community in Edmonton

It is one of the best organized communities within the Francophone immigrant community, according to various testimonies, mainly that of Alphonse Ahola, director general of FRAP. “This community has competent and articulate leadership. I think this is a community that will play an important role in settling African-descent immigrants in Alberta. They are about 600 Ivorians in Edmonton and more than 1000 in all of Alberta, ”according to Ambroise Gnoan, vice-president of the Ivorian-Canadian Community of Edmonton (CICE).

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2- General information on the country

The country stretches for 322,463 km, or one third of Alberta. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean for 520 km on the south side, where the capital Abidjan is located. This city constitutes the main economic pole with the majority of industries and services. Côte d’Ivoire has a population of over 26 million, made up of indigenous Ivorians and immigrants from neighboring countries and the rest of the world. The country officially became a French colony in 1893, then freed itself in 1960 while maintaining strong ties with France. Côte d’Ivoire is a member state of the International Francophonie Organization and hosted the 8th Games in July 2017. The country has a presidential democratic regime, a parliament and a senate.

Photo dillustration de la capitale de la Côte dIvoire Abidjan. Crédit photo Creative Common   Wikimedia
The capital of Côte d’Ivoire, Abidjan. Credit: Creative Common / Wikimedia

3- Economy

It is an essentially agricultural country, exporting the majority of its raw materials. It is notably the 1st cocoa producer with more than 2 million tonnes per year, whose resources represent 40% of the national GDP. It also exports coffee, rubber, cashew, etc. In recent years, the Ivorian government has embarked on a vast policy of industrialization and requires investors from all sides. The economy is also supported by a tertiary sector dominated by banking, gas and oil production and tourism. These are promising sectors which are of increasing interest to foreign giants, such as the Canadian company Endeavor in the oil sector.

Lexportation de Cacao est la principale activité du pays. Crédit photo   Hanay Wikimedia   Creative common
The export of cocoa is the main activity of the country. Credit: Hanay Wikimedia: Creative common

4- Culture

The rich and diverse Ivorian cultural heritage is built on the 60 official ethnic groups of the country. Culture is dominated by music. The internationally recognized musical genre is the Zouglou and the Offbeat Coupé, which are urban genres, a kind of mix between traditional and modern sounds. Abidjan, the capital, is an essential cultural place in West Africa for the accommodation of its many African artists. In general, the Ivorian people are warm and endearing. The Ivorian, they say, keeps a smile and a good mood despite the vicissitudes of life.

Kedjenou accompagné dAttiéké Photo Carol Offi
Kedjenou accompanied by Attiéké. Credit: Carol Offi

5- Gastronomy

Eating Ivorian is first of all attiéké (cassava couscous) and alloco (ripe fried plantin). Attiéké is eaten with a chicken soup called Kédjénou or braised fish. Garba, the popular urban meal is eaten with attiéké and fried tuna fish, accompanied by raw vegetables made with tomatoes, onions and green peppers. Another common meal is foutou and foufou made from plantain as well as kabato made from corn, in addition to rice. These dishes are served with sauces made from eggplant, okra or peanuts, etc. Ivorian cuisine greatly interested the participants in the intercultural day.

Foufou Ph Carol Offi
Foufou, an Ivorian dish. Credit: Carol Offi