This tropical West African nation, once the most prosperous in the region, is sliding even deeper into civil war. At press time, after a weeklong street battle for Abidjan, the commercial capital of 5 million, there were reports of a fragile settlement. But the vicious violence could break out again at any time. Mainstream Western press accounts included depressingly familiar explanations: the stolen presidential election in November, rising ethnic conflict. The explanations were accurate, as far as they went.
… The indispensable human rights organization Global Witness, based in London and Washington, DC, has pointed out (in “Hot Chocolate,” an important 2007 report) that cocoa has helped fund the violence over the past decade. Not only did the Gbagbo government heavily tax exports but the rebel forces in the north that support Ouattara also diverted cocoa money to buy weapons.
Read more here: The Roots of the Côte d’Ivoire Crisis | The Nation.