(NYT): Africa: Alassane Ouattara Is Re-elected President of Ivory Coast

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast — Alassane Ouattara has been re-elected to a second term as the president of Ivory Coast, in the first peaceful presidential election in the country in more than two decades. The provisional results of the Sunday election, announced by the Independent Electoral Commission on Wednesday morning, declared Mr. Ouattara the winner, with 83.7 percent of the 3.1 million votes counted.

Mr. Ouattara, 73, an American-trained economist and a former top official at the International Monetary Fund, has managed to guide an economic recovery with growth rates surpassing 8 percent. His challenge will be to sustain such growth, and spread it evenly across all regions, as he tries to reconcile this still-divided nation.

Starting in 2000, civil war and violence tore Ivory Coast, the world’s largest cocoa producer, into two factions, culminating in bloody clashes that left 3,000 people dead in 2011, after President Laurent Gbagbo refused to step down to let Mr. Ouattara succeed him. It took an international military intervention to remove Mr. Gbagbo, who faces trial before the International Criminal Court in The Hague on charges relating to the 2011 violence. Read more


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When Evans Appiah moved to the Bronx from Ghana at age 8, he was teased for his accent. As a way of fitting in, he learned to rap. By the time he got to Middle School 391 on Webster Avenue, his friends were calling him “Lighter” because he rapped so fast and furious in English that it sounded as if he were spitting fire.

The Bronx, the birthplace of hip-hop, shaped Mr. Appiah, now a baby-faced 27. But it was not until he returned to his native Ghana four years ago that he rediscovered his musical roots.

“When I went back,” he said, “that’s when I fell in love again.”

He began adding to his hip-hop repertoire by collaborating with artists from Ghana’s unique genre of hiplife — a blend of hip-hop and upbeat indigenous soul music called highlife. Read more