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Cote d’Ivoire Country Information

Travel Advice with Country Information from the CIA.

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Cote d’Ivoire Map

Introduction

Background

Various small kingdoms ruled the area of Cote d'Ivoire between the 15th and 19th centuries, when European explorers arrived and then began to expand their presence. In 1844, France established a protectorate. During this period, many of these kingdoms and tribes fought to maintain their cultural identities - some well into the 20th century. For example, the Sanwi kingdom - originally founded in the 17th century - tried to break away from Cote d’Ivoire and establish an independent state in 1969.  

After becoming independent in 1960, Cote d’Ivoire took advantage of close ties with France, cocoa production and export, and foreign investment to become one of the most prosperous states in West Africa. In December 1999, however, a military coup overthrew the government. In late 2000, junta leader Robert GUEI held rigged elections and declared himself the winner. Popular protests forced him to step aside and Laurent GBAGBO was elected. In September 2002, Ivoirian dissidents and members of the military launched a failed coup that developed into a civil war. In 2003, a cease-fire resulted in rebels holding the north, the government holding the south, and peacekeeping forces occupying a buffer zone in the middle. In March 2007, President GBAGBO and former rebel leader Guillaume SORO signed an agreement in which SORO joined GBAGBO's government as prime minister. The two agreed to reunite the country by dismantling the buffer zone, integrating rebel forces into the national armed forces, and holding elections. In November 2010, Alassane Dramane OUATTARA won the presidential election, but GBAGBO refused to hand over power, resulting in five months of violent conflict. In April 2011, after widespread fighting, GBAGBO was formally forced from office by armed OUATTARA supporters and UN and French forces. In 2015, OUATTARA won a second term. In October 2020, OUATTARA won a controversial third presidential term, despite a two-term limit in the Ivoirian constitution. In March 2021, the International Criminal Court in The Hague ruled on a final acquittal for GBAGBO, who was on trial for crimes against humanity.  

Geography

Location

Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Ghana and Liberia

Geographic coordinates

8 00 N, 5 00 W

Map references

Africa

Area

total: 322,463 sq km

land:318,003 sq km

water:4,460 sq km

country comparison to the world: 70

Area - comparative

slightly larger than New Mexico

Land boundaries

total: 3,458 km

border countries (5):Burkina Faso 545 km, Ghana 720 km, Guinea 816 km, Liberia 778 km, Mali 599 km

Coastline

515 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone:200 nm

continental shelf:200 nm

Climate

tropical along coast, semiarid in far north; three seasons - warm and dry (November to March), hot and dry (March to May), hot and wet (June to October)

Terrain

mostly flat to undulating plains; mountains in northwest

Elevation

highest point: Monts Nimba 1,752 m

lowest point:Gulf of Guinea 0 m

mean elevation:250 m

Natural resources

petroleum, natural gas, diamonds, manganese, iron ore, cobalt, bauxite, copper, gold, nickel, tantalum, silica sand, clay, cocoa beans, coffee, palm oil, hydropower

Land use

agricultural land: 64.8% (2018 est.)

arable land: 9.1% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 14.2% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 41.5% (2018 est.)

forest:32.7% (2018 est.)

other:2.5% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

730 sq km (2012)

Total renewable water resources

84.14 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

Population distribution

the population is primarily located in the forested south, with the highest concentration of people residing in and around the cities on the Atlantic coast; most of the northern savanna remains sparsely populated with higher concentrations located along transportation corridors as shown in this population distribution map

Natural hazards

coast has heavy surf and no natural harbors; during the rainy season torrential flooding is possible

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping-London Convention, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 2006, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified:none of the selected agreements

Geography - note

most of the inhabitants live along the sandy coastal region; apart from the capital area, the forested interior is sparsely populated

People and Society

Population

28,088,455 (July 2021 est.)

note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected

country comparison to the world: 52

Nationality

noun: Ivoirian(s)

adjective:Ivoirian

Ethnic groups

Akan 28.9%, Voltaique or Gur 16.1%, Northern Mande 14.5%, Kru 8.5%, Southern Mande 6.9%, unspecified 0.9%, non-Ivoirian 24.2% (2014 est.)

Languages

French (official), 60 native dialects of which Dioula is the most widely spoken

printed major-language sample:
The World Factbook, une source indispensable d'informations de base. (French)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.

Religions

Muslim 42.9%, Catholic 17.2%, Evangelical 11.8%, Methodist 1.7%, other Christian 3.2%, animist 3.6%, other religion 0.5%, none 19.1% (2014 est.)

note: the majority of foreign migrant workers are Muslim (72.7%) and Christian (17.7%)

Demographic profile

Cote d’Ivoire’s population is likely to continue growing for the foreseeable future because almost 60% of the populace is younger than 25, the total fertility rate is holding steady at about 3.5 children per woman, and contraceptive use is under 20%. The country will need to improve education, health care, and gender equality in order to turn its large and growing youth cohort into human capital. Even prior to 2010 unrest that shuttered schools for months, access to education was poor, especially for women. As of 2015, only 53% of men and 33% of women were literate. The lack of educational attainment contributes to Cote d’Ivoire’s high rates of unskilled labor, adolescent pregnancy, and HIV/AIDS prevalence.

Following its independence in 1960, Cote d’Ivoire’s stability and the blossoming of its labor-intensive cocoa and coffee industries in the southwest made it an attractive destination for migrants from other parts of the country and its neighbors, particularly Burkina Faso. The HOUPHOUET-BOIGNY administration continued the French colonial policy of encouraging labor immigration by offering liberal land ownership laws. Foreigners from West Africa, Europe (mainly France), and Lebanon composed about 25% of the population by 1998.

Ongoing economic decline since the 1980s and the power struggle after HOUPHOUET-BOIGNY’s death in 1993 ushered in the politics of "Ivoirite," institutionalizing an Ivoirian identity that further marginalized northern Ivoirians and scapegoated immigrants. The hostile Muslim north-Christian south divide snowballed into a 2002 civil war, pushing tens of thousands of foreign migrants, Liberian refugees, and Ivoirians to flee to war-torn Liberia or other regional countries and more than a million people to be internally displaced. Subsequently, violence following the contested 2010 presidential election prompted some 250,000 people to seek refuge in Liberia and other neighboring countries and again internally displaced as many as a million people. By July 2012, the majority had returned home, but ongoing inter-communal tension and armed conflict continue to force people from their homes.

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Cote d'Ivoire

conventional short form:Cote d'Ivoire

local long form:Republique de Cote d'Ivoire

local short form:Cote d'Ivoire

former:Ivory Coast

etymology:name reflects the intense ivory trade that took place in the region from the 15th to 17th centuries

note: pronounced coat-div-whar

Government type

presidential republic

Capital

name: Yamoussoukro (legislative capital), Abidjan (administrative capital); note - although Yamoussoukro has been the official capital since 1983, Abidjan remains the administrative capital as well as the officially designated economic capital; the US, like other countries, maintains its Embassy in Abidjan

geographic coordinates:6 49 N, 5 16 W

time difference:UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: Yamoussoukro is named after Queen YAMOUSSOU, who ruled in the village of N'Gokro in 1929 at the time of French colonization; the village was renamed Yamoussoukro, the suffix "-kro" meaning "town" in the native Baoule language; Abidjan's name supposedly comes from a misunderstanding; tradition states that an old man carrying branches met a European explorer who asked for the name of the nearest village; the man, not understanding and terrified by this unexpected encounter, fled shouting "min-chan m’bidjan," which in the Ebrie language means: "I return from cutting leaves"; the explorer, thinking that his question had been answered, recorded the name of the locale as Abidjan; a different version has the first colonists asking native women the name of the place and getting a similar response

Administrative divisions

12 districts and 2 autonomous districts*; Abidjan*, Bas-Sassandra, Comoe, Denguele, Goh-Djiboua, Lacs, Lagunes, Montagnes, Sassandra-Marahoue, Savanes, Vallee du Bandama, Woroba, Yamoussoukro*, Zanzan

Independence

7 August 1960 (from France)

National holiday

Independence Day, 7 August (1960)

Constitution

history: previous 1960, 2000; latest draft completed 24 September 2016, approved by the National Assembly 11 October 2016, approved by referendum 30 October 2016, promulgated 8 November 2016

amendments:proposed by the president of the republic or by Parliament; consideration of drafts or proposals requires an absolute majority vote by the parliamentary membership; passage of amendments affecting presidential elections, presidential term of office and vacancies, and amendment procedures requires approval by absolute majority in a referendum; passage of other proposals by the president requires at least four-fifths majority vote by Parliament; constitutional articles on the sovereignty of the state and its republican and secular form of government cannot be amended; amended 2020

Legal system

civil law system based on the French civil code; judicial review of legislation held in the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only:at least one parent must be a citizen of Cote d'Ivoire

dual citizenship recognized:no

residency requirement for naturalization:5 years

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Alassane Dramane OUATTARA (since 4 December 2010); Vice President (vacant); note - Vice President Daniel Kablan DUNCAN resigned 8 July 2020; note - the 2016 constitution calls for the establishment of the position of vice-president

head of government:Prime Minister Patrick ACHI (since 10 March 2021); note - ACHI was acting prime minister from 8-10 March 2021 and became prime minister upon former Prime Minister Hamed BAKAYOKO's death on 10 March 2021

cabinet:Council of Ministers appointed by the president

elections/appointments:president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a single renewable 5-year term ; election last held on 31 October 2020 (next to be held in October 2025); vice president elected on same ballot as president; prime minister appointed by the president; note – because President OUATTARA promulgated the new constitution during his second term, he has claimed that the clock is reset on term limits, allowing him to run for up to two additional terms

election results:Alassane OUATTARA reelected president; percent of vote - Alassane OUATTARA (RDR) 94.3%, Kouadio Konan BERTIN (PDCI-RDA) 2.0%, other 3.7%

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament consists of:
Senate or Senat (99 seats; 66 members indirectly elected by the National Assembly and members of municipal, autonomous districts, and regional councils, and 33 members appointed by the president; members serve 5-year terms)
National Assembly (255 seats; members directly elected in single- and multi-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 5-year terms)

elections:
Senate - first ever held on 25 March 2018 (next to be held in 2023)
National Assembly - last held on 18 December 2016 (next to be held in 2021)

election results:Senate - percent by party NA; seats by party - RHDP 50, independent 16; composition - men 80, women 19, percent of women 19.2%
National Assembly - percent of vote by party - RHDP 50.3%, FPI 5.8%, UDPCI 1%, other 1.4%, independent 38.5%; seats by party - RHDP, 167, UDPCI 6, FPI 3, UPCI 3, independent 76; composition - men 228, women 27, percent of women 10.6%; note - total Parliament percent of women 13%



Judicial branch

highest courts: Supreme Court or Cour Supreme (organized into Judicial, Audit, Constitutional, and Administrative Chambers; consists of the court president, 3 vice presidents for the Judicial, Audit, and Administrative chambers, and 9 associate justices or magistrates)

judge selection and term of office:judges nominated by the Superior Council of the Magistrature, a 7-member body consisting of the national president (chairman), 3 "bench" judges, and 3 public prosecutors; judges appointed for life

subordinate courts:Courts of Appeal (organized into civil, criminal, and social chambers); first instance courts; peace courts

Political parties and leaders

Democratic Party of Cote d'Ivoire or PDCI [Henri Konan BEDIE]
Ivorian Popular Front or FPI [former pres. Laurent GBAGBO]
Liberty and Democracy for the Republic or LIDER [Mamadou KOULIBALY]
Movement of the Future Forces or MFA [Innocent Augustin ANAKY KOBENA]
Rally of Houphouetists for Democracy and Peace or RHDP [Alassane OUATTARA] (alliance includes MFA, PDCI, RDR, UDPCI, UPCI)
Rally of the Republicans or RDR [Henriette DIABATE]
Union for Cote d'Ivoire or UPCI [Gnamien KONAN]
Union for Democracy and Peace in Cote d'Ivoire or UDPCI [Albert Toikeusse MABRI]

International organization participation

ACP, AfDB, AU, ECOWAS, EITI (compliant country), Entente, FAO, FZ, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINUSMA, MONUSCO, NAM, OIC, OIF, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, Union Latina, UN Security Council (temporary), UNWTO, UPU, WADB (regional), WAEMU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Mamadou HAIDARA (since 28 March 2018)

chancery:2424 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone:[1] (202) 797-0300

FAX:[1] (202) 462-9444

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Richard K. BELL (since 3 September 2019)

telephone:[225] 22 49 40 00

embassy:Cocody Riviéra Golf, 01 BP 1712 Abidjan 01, Abidjan

mailing address:B. P. 1712, Abidjan 01

FAX:[225] 22 49 43 23

Flag description

three equal vertical bands of orange (hoist side), white, and green; orange symbolizes the land (savannah) of the north and fertility, white stands for peace and unity, green represents the forests of the south and the hope for a bright future

note: similar to the flag of Ireland, which is longer and has the colors reversed - green (hoist side), white, and orange; also similar to the flag of Italy, which is green (hoist side), white, and red; design was based on the flag of France

National symbol(s)

elephant; national colors: orange, white, green

National anthem

name: "L'Abidjanaise" (Song of Abidjan)

lyrics/music:Mathieu EKRA, Joachim BONY, and Pierre Marie COTY/Pierre Marie COTY and Pierre Michel PANGO

note: adopted 1960; although the nation's capital city moved from Abidjan to Yamoussoukro in 1983, the anthem still owes its name to the former capital

This is an audio of the National Anthem for Cote d'Ivoire. The national anthem is generally a patriotic musical composition - usually in the form of a song or hymn of praise - that evokes and eulogizes the history, traditions, or struggles of a nation or its people. National anthems can be officially recognized as a national song by a country's constitution or by an enacted law, or simply by tradition. Although most anthems contain lyrics, some do not.:

Economy

Economic overview

For the last 5 years Cote d'Ivoire's growth rate has been among the highest in the world. Cote d'Ivoire is heavily dependent on agriculture and related activities, which engage roughly two-thirds of the population. Cote d'Ivoire is the world's largest producer and exporter of cocoa beans and a significant producer and exporter of coffee and palm oil. Consequently, the economy is highly sensitive to fluctuations in international prices for these products and to climatic conditions. Cocoa, oil, and coffee are the country's top export revenue earners, but the country has targeted agricultural processing of cocoa, cashews, mangoes, and other commodities as a high priority. Mining gold and exporting electricity are growing industries outside agriculture.

Following the end of more than a decade of civil conflict in 2011, Cote d’Ivoire has experienced a boom in foreign investment and economic growth. In June 2012, the IMF and the World Bank announced $4.4 billion in debt relief for Cote d'Ivoire under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative.

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 271,724

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants:1.01 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 113

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 37,376,603

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants:139.16 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 41

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: Côte d'Ivoire telecom systems continue to benefit from strong economic growth; fixed-line, Internet, and broadband sectors remain underdeveloped; mobile sector is strong; progress in national backbone network and connection to submarine cable that will increase Internet bandwidth; country is poised to develop broadband market and digital economy; government further tightened SIM card registration rules (2020) (2020)

domestic:less than 1 per 100 fixed-line, with multiple mobile-cellular service providers competing in the market, usage has increased to about 145 per 100 persons (2019)

international:country code - 225; landing point for the SAT-3/WASC, ACE, MainOne, and WACS fiber-optic submarine cable that provides connectivity to Europe and South and West Africa; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean) (2019)

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced downturn, particularly in mobile device production; many network operators delayed upgrades to infrastructure; progress towards 5G implementation was postponed or slowed in some countries; consumer spending on telecom services and devices was affected by large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home became evident, and received some support from governments

Broadcast media

state-controlled Radiodiffusion Television Ivoirieinne (RTI) is made up of 2 radios stations (Radio Cote d'Ivoire and Frequence2) and 2 television stations (RTI1 and RTI2), with nationwide coverage, broadcasts mainly in French; after 2011 post-electoral crisis, President OUATTARA's administration reopened RTI Bouake', the broadcaster's office in Cote d'Ivoire's 2nd largest city, where facilities were destroyed during the 2002 rebellion; Cote d'Ivoire is also home to 178 proximity radios stations, 16 religious radios stations, 5 commercial radios stations, and 5 international radios stations, according to the Haute Autorite' de la Communication Audiovisuelle (HACA); govt now runs radio UNOCIFM, a radio station previously owned by the UN Operation in Cote d'Ivoire; in Dec 2016, the govt announced 4 companies had been granted licenses to operate -Live TV, Optimum Media Cote d'Ivoire, the Audiovisual Company of Cote d'Ivoire (Sedaci), and Sorano-CI, out of the 4 companies only one has started operating (2019)

Internet country code

.ci

Internet users

total: 12,295,204

percent of population:46.82% (July 2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 48

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 216,723

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants:1 (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 110

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 1 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers:10

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers:779,482 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers:5.8 million mt-km (2018)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

TU

Airports

total: 27 (2013)

country comparison to the world: 124

Airports - with paved runways

total: 7 (2017)

over 3,047 m:1 (2017)

2,438 to 3,047 m:2 (2017)

1,524 to 2,437 m:4 (2017)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 20 (2013)

1,524 to 2,437 m:6 (2013)

914 to 1,523 m:11 (2013)

under 914 m:3 (2013)

Heliports

1 (2013)

Pipelines

101 km condensate, 256 km gas, 118 km oil, 5 km oil/gas/water, 7 km water (2013)

Railways

total: 660 km (2008)

narrow gauge:660 km 1.000-m gauge (2008)

note: an additional 622 km of this railroad extends into Burkina Faso

country comparison to the world: 104

Roadways

total: 81,996 km (2007)

paved:6,502 km (2007)

unpaved:75,494 km (2007)

note: includes intercity and urban roads; another 20,000 km of dirt roads are in poor condition and 150,000 km of dirt roads are impassable

country comparison to the world: 62

Waterways

980 km (navigable rivers, canals, and numerous coastal lagoons) (2011)

country comparison to the world: 66

Merchant marine

total: 25

by type:oil tanker 2, other 23 (2020)

country comparison to the world: 142

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Abidjan, San-Pedro

oil terminal(s):Espoir Offshore Terminal

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Armed Forces of Cote d'Ivoire (Forces Armees de Cote d'Ivoire, FACI; aka Republican Forces of Ivory Coast, FRCI): Army (Armee de Terre), Navy (Marine Nationale), Cote Air Force (Force Aerienne Cote), Special Forces (Forces Speciale); National Gendarmerie (under the Ministry of Defense); National Police (under the Ministry of Security and Civil Protection); Coordination Center for Operational Decisions (a mix of police, gendarmerie, and FACI personnel for assisting police in providing security in some large cities) (2020)

Military expenditures

1.1% of GDP (2019 est.)

1.4% of GDP (2018)

1.3% of GDP (2017)

1.7% of GDP (2016)

1.7% of GDP (2015)

country comparison to the world: 118

Military and security service personnel strengths

the Armed Forces of Cote d’Ivoire have approximately 25,000 active troops (23,000 Army, including about 2,000 Special Forces; 1,000 Navy; 1,000 Air Force); est. 5-10,000 Gendarmerie (2020)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the inventory of the FACI consists mostly of older or second-hand equipment, typically of French or Soviet-era origin; Cote d'Ivoire was under a partial UN arms embargo from 2004 to 2016; since 2016, it has received limited amounts of mostly second-hand equipment from a variety of countries, with Bulgaria as the leading supplier (2020)

Military deployments

800 Mali (MINUSMA) (Jan 2021)

Military service age and obligation

18-25 years of age for compulsory and voluntary male and female military service; conscription is not enforced; voluntary recruitment of former rebels into the new national army is restricted to ages 22-29 (2019)

Military - note

the military has mutinied several times since the late 1990s, most recently in 2017, and has had a large role in the country’s political turmoil; currently, the FACI is focused on internal security and the growing threat posed by Islamic militants associated with the al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) terrorist group operating across the border in Burkina Faso; AQIM militants conducted significant attacks in the country in 2016 and 2020; Côte d’Ivoire since 2016 has stepped up border security and completed building a joint counter-terrorism training center with France near Abidjan in 2020

the UN maintained a 9,000-strong peacekeeping force in Cote d’Ivoire (UNOCI) from 2004 until 2017

Terrorism

Terrorist group(s)

al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)

note: details about the history, aims, leadership, organization, areas of operation, tactics, targets, weapons, size, and sources of support of the group(s) appear(s) in Appendix-T

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

disputed maritime border between Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana

Refugees and internally displaced persons

IDPs: 308,000 (post-election conflict in 2010-11, as well as civil war from 2002-04; land disputes; most pronounced in western and southwestern regions) (2019)

stateless persons:954,531 (2020); note - many Ivoirians lack documentation proving their nationality, which prevent them from accessing education and healthcare; birth on Ivorian soil does not automatically result in citizenship; disputes over citizenship and the associated rights of the large population descended from migrants from neighboring countries is an ongoing source of tension and contributed to the country's 2002 civil war; some observers believe the government's mass naturalizations of thousands of people over the last couple of years is intended to boost its electoral support base; the government in October 2013 acceded to international conventions on statelessness and in August 2013 reformed its nationality law, key steps to clarify the nationality of thousands of residents; since the adoption of the Abidjan Declaration to eradicate statelessness in West Africa in February 2015, 6,400 people have received nationality papers

Illicit drugs

illicit producer of cannabis, mostly for local consumption; utility as a narcotic transshipment point to Europe reduced by ongoing political instability; while rampant corruption and inadequate supervision leave the banking system vulnerable to money laundering, the lack of a developed financial system limits the country's utility as a major money-laundering center

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