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Latest update : 2011-02-18

Ivory Coast: when politics leads to paralysis

The political deadlock in Ivory Coast and ensuing sanctions have plunged the country into an unprecedented economic crisis, bringing unemployment, fuel shortages and dwindling supplies of everyday essentials. The crisis is a growing burden on the daily lives of Ivorians, who are the primary victims of the situation.

The post-election crisis in Ivory Coast has dragged on now for more than two months. Both the outgoing leader Laurent Gbagbo and opposition leader Alassane Ouattara have been sworn in as president, and they and their supporters remain in political deadlock. During the crisis, much has been said of the country’s two governments, but what has life been like for the Ivorian people? How are they coping in these unprecedented circumstances? There are growing signs that the economy is suffering, and that everyday life is becoming increasingly strained.

Our reporters visited different areas of Ivory Coast’s main city Abidjan, to witness everyday life and how it has changed. Some people, especially in pro-Ouattara areas, say they are living in constant fear. Under nightly curfews, they erect barricades, afraid that militias will enter. Other citizens say that the cost of living has shot up since the political crisis, and that they’re now only eating one meal per day. And businesses are warning of mounting logistical and cash flow problems, which for them spell danger ahead.

By Willy BRACCIANO , Catherine NORRIS TRENT

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