Holy See and Ivory Coast Mark 50 years of Relations, Unveil Postal Stamp Effigy

The unveiling of the Postal stamp bearing the effigy of Pope Francis and President Alassane Ouattara on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between between the Holy See and Ivory Coast.

At a ceremony organized to mark 50 years of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the West African nation of Ivory Coast Monday, September 21, a postal stamp bearing the effigy of Pope Francis and Ivory Coast’s President, Alassane Ouattara, was unveiled.

“This Postal Stamp is a symbolic and historical testimony of the 50 years of excellent ties between Ivory Coast and the Holy See,” the representative of the Holy Father in Ivory Coast, Archbishop Paolo Borgia said during the September 21 event at took place at the Presidential Palace in Ivory Coast’s economic capital, Abidjan.

Diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Ivory Coast were established on October 26, 1970, with the appointment of the first Ivorian ambassador to the Holy See and the first Apostolic Nuncio to Ivory Coast.

According to Archbishop Borgia, since 1970, “a significant diplomatic activity has been carried out, with the signing of conventions to strengthen bilateral cooperation, in mutual respect and to the benefit of the Catholic Church and the entire people of Ivory Coast.”

He described the official visit of President Ouattara to Pope Benedict XVI in November 2012 “as a concretization of the bilateral relations existing between the two states.”


The Italian-born Church diplomat highlighted the “various activities carried out by the Catholic Church in Ivory Coast in various fields with the support of the various Ivorian authorities in favor of the development, progress and influence of this beautiful nation.”

“The election in 1983 of the Archbishop of Abidjan to the College of Cardinals is a sign of the appreciation of the high consideration of the Supreme Pontiff towards the Church and the Ivorian nation,” the 54-year-old Prelate said.

Archbishop Borgia noted that “the construction by President Houphouët Boigny of the great basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro, inaugurated in 1990 during the 3rd visit of Pope John Paul II and which appears in the background of the Postal stamp is a concrete sign of the fruitful relations between our two nations.” 

Addressing journalists during the September 21 event, Ivory Coast’s Minister of Digital Economy and the Post Office, Mamadou Sanogo said, “This ceremony of the unveiling of a common postal stamp will leave an indelible mark for future generations through the unveiling of the commemorative painting symbolizing the fraternity between the Vatican City State and our country, Ivory Coast.”

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He further said that diplomatic relations between the two countries are marked by a good heritage of culture and civilization over many centuries with a dynamic and fruitful partnership.

Initially scheduled to take place in March 2020 under theme, “peace,” the 50th anniversary of relations between the Holy See and Ivory Coast was postponed to this month because of COVID-19 restrictions.

“Peace because it is something very dear to these two countries and on the stamp, we have the portraits of the two important personalities, His Holiness the Pope and His Excellency the President of the Republic who embody peace,” the Director of the Ivorian Postal Services, Isaac Gnamba Yao explained.

He added, “On the stamp’s background we have our Basilica, which is identical to the Basilica of the Vatican City, to show that the Republic of Ivory Coast is very attached to peace and the Vatican is also very attached to peace.”


Ivory Coast, a predominantly Christian nation in West Africa, is home to the world’s largest Basilica, Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.