Statelessness in West Africa

Hello, Does anyone have any information,resources or statistics on Statelessness in Ivory Coast. I will appreciate if I can get links to websites on the same, Many thanks.


Thanks for this question @stellaobita! Do you work on statelessness in West Africa? We’d be interested to hear more about your work or research!

Based on data reported by UNHCR, there are at least 700,000 stateless persons in Ivory Coast - one of the largest stateless populations in the world!

Here are a few places you might find good information:

For statistics, you may want to look at “The World’s Stateless” - a report published by the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion. Information on the Ivory Coast can be found primarily on pages 61, 62, and 164.

For legal information, is a great resource - there you can find nationality-related laws and regulations from Ivory Coast and many other reports, news articles, and more.

In June of this year, UNHCR and IOM published a report called “Nationality, Migration, and Statelessness in West Africa” that gives a great overview of legal frameworks, implementation of laws, and populations affected by statelessness across the region.

The Citizenship Rights in Africa Initiative also has quite a few resources that you might find relevant.
If you find other good resources or websites on statelessness, please do share them with us here! @sonkitaconteh and @danielsesay from Namati’s Sierra Leone office may have ideas as well.


Dear Laura

Thank you for this valuable information,

I am doing my dissertation on irregular immigration as a cause of statelessness in West Africa, my focus area is Ivory Coast and am at the stage of data collection. I definitely will let you know if i find any good resources on the same.




Dear Stella, If still relevant do send your email address and I can forward documents about our stateless population here in Cote d’Ivoire. Govt estimates are that 700,000 historic migrants are thought to be stateless (+ an undetermined number of foundlings - until recently the official estimate divided the 700,000 figure int 400k historic migrants and 300k foundlings). The acquisition of nationality by declaration law (special declaration procedure) has resulted in reduction in this caseload. Can send info notes. What is your dissertation focussing on? Thanks Laura PS. UNHCR has a large report coming out later this year on statelessness, nationality laws and groups at risk in Cote d’Ivoire.


Hi Laura! Thanks for your feedback on the subject. Sure I do need more information on the stateless population in Cote d’Ivoire and on statelessness in general. I have now expanded the scope of my thesis, instead of focusing on cote d’Ivoire, am now looking at global causes of statelessness.My hypothesis is that state sovereignty in nationality matters is the main cause of statelessness. So I examine the aspect of state sovereignty running throughout all human rights instruments and international statelessness instruments and how this perpetuates statelessness. I will appreciate any documents on the subject.

Hi Stella! FYI, I removed your email address from this post. It is public and you don’t want it to be picked up by spammers. Other members can always message you directly via the network website if they need to.

That said, I do hope everyone shares as much as possible here in community discussions for the benefit of all! :sunflower:

The momentum on eradicating statelessness continues in West Africa! I was reading the latest #ibelong campaign update from UNHCR and it highlights lots of progress, especially since the Abidjan Declaration on the Eradication of Statelessness was signed in 2015.

Here is a snapshot of progress in ECOWAS:

2 Years into the Abidjan Declaration:

  • 11 States in West Africa are party to the 1961 Statelessness Convention
  • 12 States in West Africa are party to the 1954 Statelessness Convention
  • 12 States in West Africa have developed national action plans to end statelessness
  • 7 States in West Africa have begun a process to revise their nationality legislation
  • All governments in West Africa have appointed a statelessness focal point

There has also been a big social media campaign called #1minute1million - focused around the question “There are at least 1 million stateless people in West Africa. Do you have one minute to listen to them?” You can find a series of 1-minute videos from West Africa online. @mckinleycharles @mustafa_mahmoud @aishakhagai

With all this change at the regional and national levels - how are stateless communities or persons at risk of statelessness being affected in their daily lives? Are these national and regional legal commitments becoming a reality for those struggling to secure citizenship?

West Africa is certainly a region to watch for progress on statelessness - and perspectives from legal empowerment practitioners in the region like @stellaobita @lauracparker @namati_salone @ismailasall @nyeswah @Temfuh on whether these efforts have resulted in any community-level changes would be so valuable!


Dear Laura, I’m looking for information on the impact of stateless on the ivory coast such as economics, political, education and health. Do you have information about it? I will be very grateful for the help you provided.

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Hi Panti, I don`t have this information, since my research focuses on policies in place. I suggest that you contact Institute of Statelessness and Inclusion(ISI), on their website, If they can get you in touch with Laura Van Waas, that would be great. She may provide you with relevant contacts, if she doesn’t have answers you seek.


Thank you Stella, I am very grateful for the help you provided. I will contact ISI and hope to get the information.


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