This edition: The Legacy of Colonization
Ivory Coast, in the heart of West Africa, occupies a tropical transition zone between the Sahara Desert, the Islamic north, and former European colonies in the south, and this small nation continues to cope with the mixed blessings of its French colonial past. For decades, its economy has depended on exporting coffee and cocoa. But deforestation has shrunk its rainforest, and a 1986 fall in cocoa prices caused economic crisis. Today, Ivory Coast is attempting to diversify its economy, develop internal markets, and foster entrepreneurship and education. In Gabon, prosperity depends on a finite resource: oil. Gabon, too, is trying to create a more diversified economy and lessen its dependence on exports, but those efforts are hampered by a weak internal transportation network.