The Ivory Coast is a multi-party republic
with a presidential regime.
The president is elected for a five year
term of office by general election and
holds executive power.
The National Assembly is composed of 172
members, elected also for a five year term
of office and led by a Prime Minister.
The constitution which dates from 31st
October 1960 has been modified six times
The junta in power after the 31st October
1960 coup has made another constitutional
revision, under President Robert
Gueï, the leader of the junta.
After tumultuous elections, Mr Laurent
Gbagbo (who was invested as president on
26th October 2000) formed a new government
on 4th January 2001 with 28 members (19
from the FPI party). His Prime Minister is
Mr Affi N'Guesson.
century : the first Portuguese trading
stations were set up (mainly for
17th century : it became the headquarters
of French trading stations
1915 : the railway lines were laid
1960 : independence under Félix
Houphouët-Boigny, who had been a
minister in the French government under
the IVth Republic. The PDCI became the
only political party.
7th December 1993 : death of
1995 : re-election of his successorr,
Henry Konan Bédié
24th December 1999 : military coup d'etat,
General Robert Gueï, the leader of
the junta, is named president
10th Decembre 2000, the deputies to the
National Assembly are elected in a country
which is bitterly divided by ethnic
violence, leaving numerous dead and
4th January 2001, President Laurent Gbagbo
forms a new government.
territory of the Ivory Coast is mainly
made up of plains and valleys with a
mountain range in the north-west (the
highest peak is the Mt Momi at 1,302
The total surface area is 322,463 sq.
kms., the population count is 15,800,000,
giving a population density of 46
inhabitants per square kilometer.
The Ivory Coast is surrounded by the Gulf
of Guinea in the south (515 kms), Ghana in
the east (668 kms), Burkina Faso (584 kms)
and Mali (532 kms) in the north, Guinea
(610 kms) and Liberia (716 kms) in the
The political capital is Yamoussoukro, the
financial and business capital is
Ivory Coast is going through a severe
The sales price of raw materials (cocoa,
coffee, cotton) has dramatically
The International Monetary Fund, the World
Bank and the European Union have suspended
aid after having discovered major
embezzlements in 1999.
Since then the budgetary deficit and the
internal debt have shot up and economic
growth has stagnated.
Dialogue has been renewed with the IMF,
who are however still worried about the
rise in military expenditure and have
decided to go through a period of
observation before going ahead again with
in the financial situation is closely
linked to a normalization on the political
balance (billions $)
debt (billions $)
per capita per annum
70 000 =
180 000 =
PPP -$5000 pa
1 270 000 =
from tourism 1998
GDP divided by sectors of activity
Industry : 18.8%
Mining : 3.9%
Services : 51.3%
CIF 1998 : 3,500 million dollars, that is
+15.1% compared to 1995, with 4.2% coming
from the United States, Japan : 2.9%,
Africa : 13.2%, European Union : 46.9% of
which France : 28.5%.
communal external duty rates of the UEMOA
(the West African economic and monetary
union) are being applied since 1st January
2000. Imports are free in principle,
except for certain products : living
animals, pharmaceutical products,
essential oils, audio-visual aids, arms
and ammunition, petrol products and cotton
foreign companies have been complaining
over the last year about difficulties in
getting paid, as well as about fraud and
corruption of the customs.
In spite of recent progress, the justice
services still don't always work very
well, decisions are still too often taken
Agriculture dominates the economy in the
It represents about 35% of the GDP and 65%
of the external revenue, and employs 70%
of the labour force.
The main part of the Ivoirian agricultural
production is intended for export.
The main export income comes from cocoa,
the third one from wood and the fifth
biggest revenue comes from pineapples and
(millions of tons,
head, and cubic meters for timber)
is the country's main produce, the Ivory
Coast is the leading world producer and
furnishes 40 to 50% of the planet's
But in August 1999 the World Bank demanded
that in return for the annulation of the
Ivoirian debt, the official channels
should be liberalized.
This resulted in an uncontrolled rise in
production which caused the world market
prices to plummet.
The associations of coffee and cocoa
producers estimate the overall loss to be
4 billion francs.
On top of this, a European directive was
adopted in March 2000 which authorises the
replacement of cocoa butter by other fats
in chocolate production, it is inevitable
that demand will fall by 100,000 to
150,000 tons and the prices will drop
products are cultivated : maize, rice,
manyoc, millet, sorgho, bananas,
The country doesn't grow enough rice for
its needs, but is auto-sufficient in
maize, manyoc and igname.
There is not much live-stock.
Goats, sheep and cattle are raised in
The Ivory Coast imports meat from the
neighbouring northern countries.
There is some fishing, but not much
Forestry is an important revenue for the
country - bringing in more than coffee
13.3 million cubic meters were cut in
Ivory Coast has an extremely good
infrastructure and an educated elite.
Four sectors are particularly dynamic :
agriculture, energy and mining, tourism
and the export of industrial products.
Other sectors are developing :
telecommunications, (like everywhere else
in the world the mobile telephone is
spreading rapidly), electrical equipment
and foodstuff production.
are some natural resources : petrol,
manganese, iron, cobalt, bauxite, copper
and gold (4 tons a year are mined), but
not enough to increase the standard of
living in the country.
country banks on its manufacturing
industries, their share in the GDP has
gone up from 13% in 1993 to 20%, and the
objective is to reach 30%.
At the moment this sector is limited to
textiles and foodstuffs, but activities
connected to energy are developing :
processing oil imported from Nigeria,
exploiting the country's hydro-electric
resources, the construction of thermal
power stations using the Ivoirian natural
To encourage the petrol exploitation, some
fiscal measures have been foreseen for
petrol sites in marine zones which are
more than 200 metres deep.
For example, contracts concerning shared
production (law of 29th August 1996) in
which regulations about the amortization
of the petrol costs and payments to be
made to the licence holders are provided
for, include the repercussions caused by
the depth of the sea where the oilfield
The last major company to be privatized is
the SIR (the Ivoirian
In order to
diversify the agricultural production,
food processing companies are being
60,000 tons of cocoa beans are already
processed locally, 15,000 tons of which
are pressed for butter and cattle
Four sugar factories and the oil factories
have been privatized.
3.213 billion Kwh of
electricity was produced in 1997, 62.93%
of which is hydraulic.
There are six dams
producing electricty, the major ones being
Soubre, Taaboo and Kossou.
14,920,080 inhabitants live in this
country which covers 322,462 sq. kms.
Urban population : 48%
Working age population : 7.4 million
(15-65 years old)
Of which 6 million are working (30% in
industry and services)
0-14 year olds : 43.93%
15-64 year olds : 53.39%
65 year olds and over : 2.68%
expectancy 46.14 years
demographical growth 1997 - 2015 :
energy consumption per capita TOE :
population without drinking water :
population without sanitary installations
n° of doctors per 1000 inhabitants :
telephone lines per 1000 inhabitants :
mobile telephones per 1000 inhabitants :
private cars per 1000 inhabitants : 21
n° of computers per 1000 inhabitants
adult illiteracy : 57%
secondary schooling/age group : 24.1%
graduates/age group : 5%
There are more than three million
immigrants from Burkina-Faso, Mali and
Guinea living in the Ivory Coast.
More than 60 ethnic groups exist
throughout the country.
The main group is the Agni-Ashanti, a
farming people settled in the centre and
the south of the country. Others are the
Baoueles 23%, the Bétés 18%,
Séoufous 15%, Malinkés
are also the Mandés, a people to
which the Dioulas and the Krou tribes
The Senouf are settles in the north, and
the Lobis in the north-east.
from 130,000 to 330,000 non-Africans :
mostly Lebanese and French.
French is the
Among the many other languages spoken are
Dioula and Baoulé.
The Ivory Coast is
made up of animists, Christians and
Muslims in the following proportions :
60% Muslims, 12% Christians (mainly Roman
Catholic) and 28% traditional beliefs
(many of whom are animist).
there is a splendid mosque in full sight
of the Basilica of Notre Dame.
the last year during the presidential
legislative elections there have been
violent ethnic confrontations between the
Muslims from the north and the Christians
from the south.
The Ivory Coast belongs to the Franc
The parity is fixed and cannot be modified
without the agreement of the other member
states of the Franc zone.
The value of the CFA
franc has been cut in half since it was
devalorized in 1994.
100 CFA Francs are worth 1 French
1 F CFA = 1 centime = 0.01F = 0.00152
1 dollar = 510 FCFA
The capital is
It is the political capital, the birth
place of Félix Houphouët
Boigny, the Father of Independence.
About 151,000 people live there.
which is the economic capital has a
population of over 3 million. It is built
on a peninsula on a lagoon which has
direct access to the sea via a canal.
The business centre in Abidjan is called
the Plateau, the main residential areas
are Cocody and the Deux Plateaux.
The industrial zone is called
is known for its coffee, cocoa and cotton
There are 120,000 inhabitants.
the east of Abidjan :
beach, which you can get to by bus from
the Plateau or from Treichville (a popular
area of the town).
The old colonial capital of the Ivory
Coast, abondonned following a cholera
epidemic, is 40 kms east of Abidjan.
A 504 from the Treichville bus station
will get you there.
Assinie is 80 kms away.
It is a beautiful beach where most of the
white population spend their Sundays.
You can get there by bush-taxi from Grand
is a small town, or a big village.
the west of Abidjan :
forest of Banco covers 3,000 hectares. It
is 3 kms to the north of Adjamé,
you can get there from Adjamé by
If you take a 504 from Adjamé to
Dabu you can visit the Island of
is 60 kms out of Abidjan, between the
lagoon and the ocean. You can get there by
car, you have to cross on a ferry, or by
bus (a regular service given by the A3
company, which goes several times a day
from the Treichville bus station)
is 98 kms from Dabou. You can reach the
old village by crossing the lagoon in a
Divo is a stop-over on the road to
Pedro is 80
kms to the west of Sassandra, it is a town
of 130,000 inhabitants which has a wooden
port, built with floating tree trunks,
like in Canada.
is 270 kms from Abidjan. You can get there
with a 504 from the Adjamé station,
and there is also a bus service with the
SOTRANSYA company, which organizes a
departure every hour during daylight.
he air strip in Yamoussoukro was built to
receive the French president.
The biggest university in western Africa
is in this town.
is the second biggest town in the country,
it is 106 kms away from Yamoussoukro.
the west :
Man is the
capital of the Yacouba region.
At about 43 kms to the north of this town
there is Biankouma
which you can reach by 504 or
The Ivory Coast is
divided into three main climatic zones
determined by the size of their annual
2 metres in the south, 1.50 metres in the
centre and 1.20 metres in the north.
The climate is equatorial, with heavy
rains in the west.
There are two dry seasons, from November
to April and a shorter season in August
There are tropical rains in the north in
The climate changes a lot from north to
south, going from an intertropical to a
In the south there are two rainy seasons,
a short one from September to October and
a longer one which lasts from 15th May to
In the north there are tropical rains in
It is a country
covered with tropical forests which
produce precious woods, savannah regions
and lots of rivers and streams.
Rainfall : Height in
Temperature of the sea : monthly
are highly active at night, are
unfortunately around all year.
Never walk barefoot, and check out your
shoes, sleeping bag and sheets (especially
in desert areas) as there are scorpions
for a job in the Ivory Coast :
could start looking for information by
sending letters to French associations in
the Ivory Coast, to Trade Commissions and
to commercial services in French banks
which have branches in the Ivory
The French Consulate has a service dealing
with jobs and training and can introduce
you to local companies wishing to acquire
also the page in the Practical Guide for
The French Chamber of Commerce can give
you information about the job market and
the most dynamic sectors of the local
They also publish a bulletin which is
reserved for French companies and local
You could put a job ad in this
Trade Commission in Abidjan or the CFCE in
Paris can give you a list of French
companies set up in the Ivory Coast.
While you are looking for information you
can contact companies directly by sending
an application and proposing your
to find job offers?
the French press (Le Monde, Le France
Soir, Figaro, Moniteur du Bâtiment,
la Voix du Nord, Le Républicain
Lorrain, Expat magazine... ) for French
companies sending people
the international press, in nearly all the
main daily papers there is a page or a
section on job offers : (The European, The
Guardian, Vacature, Coriere della sera, La
Tribune de Genève, ...).
Head hunting companies in Europe and
temporary work agencies have international
You can have easy access to several local
data bases dealing with job offers via
applying for a job :
CV must be very clearly set out and
detailled. It should be accompanied by a
handwritten covering letter.
Whatever post you are trying for, be well
dressed for the interview. Interviewers
pay a lot of attention to your
Be careful not to seem to be pretentious
about your knowledge and don't exaggerate
your professional competence.
Don't forget that the local market has a
high rate of unemployment, be careful not
to throw away an opportunity once you have
already got as far as getting an
Stress your real competence, your ease of
adaption, your mobility, your ability to
work in a team and your desire to bring in
is advisable to go to Africa, particularly
if it is your first time, as part of a
French or an international company.
An expatriate contract gives you the best
conditions : 2 months leave every 10
months, accomodation, usually a car
depending on your post, the possibility to
take your family with you, a salary paid
in France and usually tax
in the country
Ivory Coast has a high risk potential.
Investors are nevertheless welcome, fiscal
and economical advantages are offered to
international companies willing to set up
in the industrial zones around
The Ivoirian Embassy in Paris will help
you to complete the various administrative
steps and can give you a practical
presence in the country:
French companies work in and with the
Ivory Coast in spite of problems of
payment and other risks.
to be completed
nationals need a visa, to apply for one
you need to give a photo and pay 35 euros
A visa is also obligatory for Belgians and
Swiss who need to give two photos and 35
It takes 48 hours to receive your
Check that your passport is still
If you arrive by car the police can ask
you for a custom's certificate.
If you don't have this you can get a
tourist sticker which is for a
non-renewable period of 15 days.
You also need to have a document showing
that you have adequate financial means for
your stay in the country.
If you arrive by plane you have to show
that you have a return ticket.
to be completed if you are working in the
first thing to do on arrival in the Ivory
Coast is to get registered with the local
authorities and with your Embassy, who
need to know of your presence in the
country in case of
in the country :
is not a good medical structure, nor
modern equipment in most of the Ivory
If you have a serious health problem it is
preferable to be repatriated.
fever is obligatory.
This vaccine give you 100% protection for
You can get this vaccination in any
You have to get it done in advance as it
only starts its protection 10 days after
the vaccination is done (unless it is a
booster, which takes effect
vaccinations are not obligatory, but it is
recommened to check up your basics
(tetanos, polio and diptheria) and have
shots against hepatitis A and B.
a preventive treatment against malaria,
and take all the necessary pills with
forget to have your international
vaccination certificates with you and you
should also subscribe to an international
There are daily flights going to the Ivory
Coast with Air France or Air Afrique from
There are also regular flights leaving
from Lyon, Bordeaux, Marseilles and
is the second biggest African port after
Durban in South Africa and a transit
platform in the region, especially with
Mali and Burkina Faso.
express train goes between Abidjan and
Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso (1500
is a good internal rail network inside the
country. 900,000 tons of merchandise are
transported annually, 500,000 tons of it
are exports to Burkina and Mali.
The road network is made up of 67,500 kms
of road and there is a huge road traffic
with buses leaving from the central bus
The buses are very cheap and often the
service is quicker than by train.
Minibuses are called 'mille-kilos' (1000
kilos) or '22-places' (22
are plenty of taxis available but it is
advisable to check that the meter is
working and that the tarifs marked are the
right ones : tarif 1 is a day rate and
tarif 2 is applied from midnight to
The difference with France is +1 hour in
winter and +2 hours in summer.
phone France from Abidjan dial 00 33 + the
number of your correspondent.
The phone the Ivory Coast from France,
dial 00 225 followed by the number of your
NB : telephone numbers in the Ivory
Coast changed on the 15th January 2000
there are now 8 numbers (instead of 6).
You add 2 numbers before the old 6
e.g.if the old number started with 01xxxx,
02xxxx, 03xxxx you now add 03 in front =
if the old number started with 04xxxx;
05xxxx, 06xxxx you now add 0504xxxx,
For numbers 07/08/09 add 07
For numbers 20/21/22 add 20 etc
are four dailies in the Ivoirian press and
about fifteen weeklies.
- Ivoir'Soir : 50,000 copies sold over the
Notre Temps : a weekly, 30,000 copies
Voie : both a daily and a weekly.
international airport of Abidjan is 11 kms
out of town and is called the Felix
There are other airports at Bouake and
can rent your Avis
in Abidjan :
at the international airport, tel 27 72 73
fax 32 66 75
or in town at the Novotel, rue du
Commerce, tel 32 80 07 fax 32 66
All Avis cars are
completely equipped, have done less than
15,000 kms and have an average age of 3
The vehicles are carefully prepared and
checked between each rental using a
procedure containing 7 obligatory control
The cars are rented with a full tank.
Renting from Avis automatically means that
the car passengers, renter and/or driver
are covered by a third party insurance as
well as an insurance covering repatriation
and the immobilization of the vehicule in
case of an accident.
You can reserve a
- from your travel agent
- from the international reservation
centre at 0 820 05 05 05
- or from any Avis agency
Avis has an interactive network worldwide,
a client can reserve a car instantly from
anywhere in the world.
We recommend that
you pay your rental using your accredited
Avis card or with another credit card
accepted by Avis : American Express, Visa,
Through a simple free membership system,
Avis gives identity and/or payment cards,
which are a real help for a rapid and
REASSURING : No
on-line payment, you can pay Avis directly
at the agency when you return the car
RAPID : Avis has the quickest car rental
reservation service on the web
ECONOMICAL : The cheapest rates on the
market are available on the Avis
COMPLETE : You can rent a car anywhere in
The Avis network : 5000 agencies in 172
countries, is now on-line!
EFFICIENT : Find your town (you don't have
to fill in the country), enter the date
and click on estimate
PRACTICAL : You only have to fill in 4
boxes and you will receive an e-mail
confirming the reservation.
You can even rent a vehicle at the last
minute just round the corner or ... on the
other side of the world.
Bear in mind that taxis are very cheap and
plentiful while car rental is extremely
expensive. You have to count at least the
double that you would pay in Europe. It is
very expensive to buy a car and to insure
it, 52 cars are stolen every day in the
If you do however decide to rent a car,
you should know that the police are very
fussy about seat belts, fines are very
heavy and you could even have a prison
in the Ivory Coast is the most expensive
in all of West Africa.
In Abidjan there are numerous accomodation
(See the list of hotel in 'Useful
addresses in the country)
The choice goes from top luxury categories
in the residential Cocody area to the
simplest hotel on the Plateau.
there are restaurants for all kinds of
Light clothing, in
cotton or linen.
If you plan to go to the game parks take
neutral coloured clothing, walking shoes
and a scarf to protect you from clouds of
It is a good idea to have an anorak or a
raincoat with you in the rainy season, but
in fact it is so hot and the rainfall is
so heavy that it is not always very
A plastic mac is really the most
Wear a suit and tie for business
should be 220 v. The plugs are the
the list of schools in the 'Useful
Addresses in the country'.
Ivory Coast has a varied and good quality
higher education system for basic
training, as much in the technical field
as in the commercial and administrative
The national polytechnical institution
Felix Houphouët Boigny, which is
attached to both the Ministry of Higher
Education and the ministry of Economy and
Finance is an example of a school giving a
wide variety of courses.
It contains a continuing education and
management training school, advanced
agronomical courses, advanced commercial
and administrative courses, advanced
industrial courses, advanced mining and
geological courses and advanced building
The INHP-FHB turns out 700 graduates each
private schools, both independent or
attached to foreign institutes (French and
Canadian) also give good training to
future management staff.
It is nearly impossible to arrive in the
Ivory Coast and start business without
having a local circle of friends :
everything will depend on who you know -
justice, customs, administrative
worry if people arrive late for
people for permission if you want to take
photos of them.
August : Independence Day
1st November : All Saints' Day
11th November : Armistice
25th December : Xmas
1st January : New Years' Day
1st May : Labour Day
+ religious Muslim holiday, the dates vary
depending on the lunar calendar :
Ramadan, Tabaski, Maouloud.
Credit cards are
accepted in the banks but their general
use is a bit limited.
The French franc is the currency the most
appreciated in West Africa.
The group Banque Africaine de
Développement (BAD) (African Bank
The Fonds Africain de Développement
(FAD) (African Development Fund)
The Fonds Spécial du Nigeria (FSN)
(Special Nigerian Fund)
these guides are in French and can be
purchased at the Librairie du commerce
10 avenue d'Iéna, 75016 Paris Tel :
01 40 73 34 60
You can receive them by post by writing to
the following address:
BP 438-75233 Paris Cedex 05.
Fax : 01 43 36 47 98.
Coll.Un Marché :
An overall view of the country's economy
as well as practical advice to get
CFCE/PEE Abidjan. (PEE = Trade
* Côte-d'Ivoire : an examination of
the commercial policies.
* Côtes-d'Ivoire : positive economic
results to reinforce.
Note PEE Abidjan.
* The automobile market, spare parts and
Note PEE Abidjan.
cost of living :
the different devaluations of the franc
CFA and the rise in the cost of living the
price of imported products are high.
certain quarters are reputed to be
dangerous especially at night times.
There are artisan markets and antique
shops where you can buy sculptures,
musical instruments and material.
You can visit the lagoons by boat.
To the east and the west of the town there
are beautiful beaches, but be careful the
sea is dangerous with very strong currents
and undertows (known as the 'barre') and
has beautiful landscapes and paradisiacal
beaches, you can do pirogue rides on the
river from Sassandra and see the
It is also an old colonial town.
is a market selling spices, jewels and
leather objects. The Comoé national
park where you can see elephants, lions,
monkeys and other animals can be visited
from February to May.
It is possible to group merchandise, so
long as it is done by transit
The customs nomenclature which is used is
that of Brussels.
Ivoirian customs rights are applied, as
well as the fiscal right of entry
It can go up to 30% of the customs' value
Goods must be declared and go through
customs whether they arrive by sea or by