Ivory Coast Conflict under Democracy. Crises, Ethnic tension, real War, Democracy under treat. Find out more on Ivory Coast and the safety status. A Book on Ivory Coast. After gaining independence from France in 1960, the Ivory Coast fell under the role of authoritarian but charismatic leader, Félix Houphouët-Boigny. For a time, the Ivory Coast flourished economically and politically, and Boigny was hailed as a leader capable of maintaining ethnic unity and political stability within a diverse and historically disunited country. However, this period of success masked the development of grievances that laid the groundwork for later conflict. Tensions between ethnic groups began to emerge in the west of the country during the 1970s and 1980s, as Boigny encouraged the migration of foreign workers and labourers from the north of the Ivory Coast to support the expansion of cocoa plantations in the west. This resulted in some local groups feeling marginalised, increased tensions around land scarcity, and escalated anti-immigrant sentiment. This was made worse as the global price of cocoa fell and the country entered a recession in the 1990s.