Though the period after independence was prosperous in Côte d’Ivoire, economic stagnation started in the 1980s and has continued. Growing population pressure, increased by heaving immigration from its northern neighbors produced severe competition for ever-scarcer land and jobs. Southern political elites then disenfranchised northerners. This explains why military rebels were able to keep control of the north after a failed coup attempt in 2002. Unless the material causes of the intensifying ethnic and regional hostilities are properly addressed, the civil war cannot be settled democratically.