2020 Stamp Programme
- 10 September 2020: Diplomatic Relations with Vatican City 50th Anniversary
Ivory Coast, officially the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire (République de Côte d’Ivoire), is a country located on the south coast of West Africa. Ivory Coast’s political capital is Yamoussoukro in the center of the country, while its economic capital and largest city is the port city of Abidjan. It borders Guinea to the northwest, Liberia to the west, Mali to the northwest, Burkina Faso to the northeast, Ghana to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea (Atlantic Ocean) to the south. The official language of the republic is French, with local indigenous languages also being widely used that include Baoulé, Dioula, Dan, Anyin, and Cebaara Senufo. In total, there are around 78 different languages spoken in Ivory Coast. The country has large populations of adherents of Christianity, Islam and various indigenous religions.
Before its colonization by Europeans, Ivory Coast was home to several states, including Gyaaman, the Kong Empire and Baoulé. The area became a protectorate of France in 1843 and was consolidated as a French colony in 1893 amid the European scramble for Africa. It achieved independence in 1960, led by Félix Houphouët-Boigny, who ruled the country until 1993. Relatively stable by regional standards, Ivory Coast established close political and economic ties with its West African neighbors while at the same time maintaining close relations to the West, especially France. Ivory Coast experienced a coup d’état in 1999 and two civil wars, first between 2002 and 2007 and again during 2010–2011. In 2000, the country adopted a new constitution.
Ivory Coast is a republic with strong executive power vested in its president. Through the production of coffee and cocoa, the country was an economic powerhouse in West Africa during the 1960s and 1970s, though it went through an economic crisis in the 1980s, contributing to a period of political and social turmoil. It was not until around 2014 that the gross domestic product again reached the level of its peak in the 1970s. In the 21st century, the Ivorian economy has been largely market-based, and it still relies heavily on agriculture, with smallholder cash-crop production being predominant.
La Poste is the company responsible for postal service in Ivory Coast. Côte d’Ivoire is a member of the West African Postal Conference.
The postal service is a Crown corporation that delivers mail (letters, maps, documents) and goods (packages and parcels), along with transferring money. It has 197 offices throughout the territory, 56 distribution centers in rural areas, two postal sorting centers, two centers of parcels, and a philatelic center.
The postal service has existed in Côte d’Ivoire since the nineteenth century. The postal service is the traditional means of communication in this country, but alternative methods of communication and transportation provided by private companies have developed rapidly in recent years.
The French established trading posts during several time periods, but the first post office, at San Pédro, dates from 1847, with Grand Bassam, Jacqueville, and Assinie getting offices in 1890.
The first use of postage stamps was at Assinie from 1862, where the French Colonies general issues were available. The cancellation was an “ASI” in a lozenge of dots.
The colony received its own stamps in November 1892, just a few months prior to formal establishment. As typical for French colonies of the time, these were of the Navigation and Commerce design, with 13 values ranging from 1 centime to 1 franc. Four of the values were reissued with color changes in 1900, and several were surcharged in 1904 and again in 1912.
The colony participated in the West Africa commemorative stamp of 1906, and in 1913 an issue of stamps depicting a river scene started a long series that continued in use until the mid-1930s.
In the meantime, post offices multiplied, with 38 in existence throughout the territory by 1915.
When Upper Volta was dissolved in 1933, several of its provinces were added to Côte d’Ivoire, and 16 types of its stamps were overprinted “Côte d’Ivoire”.
Stamps of French West Africa superseded Ivoirean stamps from 1944 to 1959.
On 1 October 1959, the first issue of the new republic went on sale. The three values depicted an elephant, and were inscribed “République de Côte d’Ivoire”. A stamp in December depicted the country’s first president, Félix Houphouët-Boigny. The first definitive series of the republic, in 1960, depicted masks from various tribes.