Côte D'ivoire - Migration

Flourishing economic activity in Côte d'Ivoire has attracted large numbers of workers from neighboring countries. In 1988 they constituted 28% of the national total. Migratory laborers from Burkina Faso, estimated at more than one million, work chiefly on the cocoa and coffee plantations. In addition, several hundred thousand Ghanaians, Guineans, Malians, Senegalese, and Mauritanians live in Côte d'Ivoire. As of September 1998, Côte d'Ivoire was still harboring 85,000 of the more than 350,000 Liberian war refugees who started coming to Côte d'Ivoire in 1989 with the start of the civil war in Liberia. Following a 1997 census, it was discovered that some 1,500 Sierra Leonean refugees had been living in Côte d'Ivoire disguised as Liberian refugees. The government has since agreed to recognize them as Sierra Leonean refugees. A mass voluntary repatriation program for the Liberian refugees was implemented between June 1997 and December 1999, after which remaining Liberian refugees were to receive assistance in local integration.

In 2000, the net migration rate for Côte d'Ivoire was 0.08 migrants per 1,000 population, down from 3.0 in 1990. Most of the non-African population consists of French and other Europeans, and Lebanese and Syrians. Foreigners can buy land and vote in Côte d'Ivoire; some cabinet ministers are foreign-born. In 2000 there were 2,336,000 migrants living in Côte d'Ivoire, including 120,700 refugees. The government still views the immigration level as too high and seeks to lower the number.

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