Cote d’Ivoire in brief
Political and administrative capital: Yamoussoukro
Economic capital: Abidjan
Major cities: Bouake, San Pedro Daloa, Man, Khorogo, Abengourou
Official language: French
Population: About 22.7 million
Religion: Muslim (40%), Catholic (20%), Evangelical (20%), other
Area: 124,502 square miles
Number of Korean expats: Around 300
Independence from France: Aug. 7, 1960
Cote d’Ivoire is the first African country that formally established diplomatic relations with Korea. Since July 23, 1961, that relationship has evolved steadily, and on many fronts, in part due to the visits of high-level officials from both governments. Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara’s state visit to Korea in October 2014 has greatly helped boost bilateral ties.
The trade balance between Korea and Cote d’Ivoire reached $230 million in 2015. From Cote d’Ivoire to Korea, timber, cacao and coffee are mainly exported. From Korea, electronics, apparel, cars and smartphones are usually imported.
Investing in the future
Korean investment in Cote d’Ivoire was about $120 million in 2015 in various sectors such as health, drinking water supply, education and road construction.
From sea to forest
The Ivorian Coast offers splendid beaches from Tabou to Assinie, San Pedro, Monogaga, Sassandra, Dagbego, Grand-Lahou and Grand-Bassam.
For sport, the main attractions are fishing, golf, surfing, diving, underwater hunting, water skiing, sailing and windsurfing.
For nature enthusiasts, visit the Foret du Banco, a unique forest located in the middle of a large metropolis at 30,000 hectares. National parks in Comoe, Tai, Marahoue, Azagny; fauna reserves in Abokouamekro; and protected areas in Mount Nimba, Banco, Tai, Ehotiles islands, Marahoue, Lamto and Comoe also attract many tourists.
A native of Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, Sarah Bile has lived in various countries, including in Cote d’Ivoire, Israel and Tunisia. She formerly worked as the assistant to the vice president of finance at the African Development Bank. Bile holds an executive secretary diploma from the French School in Addis Ababa.
In mid-2014, she moved to Seoul to join her husband. They have three daughters.
In her free time, Bile enjoys jogging, traveling and learning about foreign culture. Through the Korean Red Cross, she has also gained experience working with various humanitarian institutions in Seoul.
Sylvestre Kouassi Bile
Born in Bonoua, Sylvestre Kouassi Bile obtained his bachelor’s degree from the University of Abidjan and went on to study his master’s in political and social sciences at the University in Leuven, in Belgium. He joined Cote d’Ivoire’s foreign ministry in September 1977 and served numerous posts, including as counselor at the Embassy of Cote d’Ivoire in Ethiopia, and then in Israel and Korea. In July 2012, he returned to Korea after seven years to serve as the ambassador.