Your guide to being an expatriate in Ivory Coast

Caffeinate Your Ivory Coast Expat Journey: Find Essential Info and Connect with Expatriates Today!

Ivory Coast, officially the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, is a country in West Africa. Located along the southern coast of the Gulf of Guinea, it shares borders with Liberia, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Ghana. From colonial roots to the present day, Ivory Coast has a rich and complex history. Noted for its cultural and linguistic influence in the region, this African country has gained widespread recognition as an economic powerhouse, particularly in the agricultural sector. With a population of over 26 million, Ivory Coast has faced political instability in recent years, but has also charted a path towards greater freedom, democracy, and prosperity.

Ivory Coast

Expat destinations in Ivory Coast

Demographics of Ivory Coast:

Ethnic groups

Akan, Guro, Mandé, Krous, Mande, Bété, Dan, Loma-Gurma, Ivorian–Guinean savanna regions: Gueré (Simbo), Blin, Wobe


French (Official), Dioula, Baoule, MCVC (Bété, Chief's Zigua, Avikam, Zígue), Dida, Fon, Guro, Guéré, Krous, Ligbo, Malinke, Móoré, Senoufo, Bissa, Bissa-Gurma, La / Dan, Limba, Ivorian Sign Language, Fongbe, Cebuano

Religion Overview

The religious landscape of Ivory Coast is diverse, with multiple religions and faiths coexisting. Approximately 44% of the population identifies as Christian, with Roman Catholicism being the largest denomination. Islam comprises roughly 39% of the population, while traditional religions can be found in the remaining 17%. The Ivory Coast Constitution explicitly acknowledges the country's spiritual heritage and established principles of religious freedom.

Major Religions


Ivory Coast has a tropical rainforest climate, with high temperatures and humidity. Annual rainfall is abundant, with peaks occurring during the wet season. Droughts are rare, but storms with frequent lightning can occur during the dry season.

Economy Overview

Ivory Coast has a thriving economy, with an estimated GDP of $60 billion in 2021. Major industries include agriculture, finance, construction, manufacturing, and mining (primarily bauxite, diamonds, and gold). Ivory Coast is also one of the world's largest producers of cocoa, coffee, and rubber, and is home to several multinational corporations. Despite the emergence of a vibrant middle class, the country has faced multiple economic challenges in recent years, including inflation, devaluation, and reduced trade volumes. Key economic issues affecting Ivory Coast include poverty, unemployment, income inequality, and corruption.

Key Industries

  • Agriculture
  • Finance
  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • Mining (bauxite, diamonds, gold)

Major Companies

  • Côte d'Ivoire Telecom
  • Zepz (the Ivorian subsidiary of Visa)
  • La Société Ivoirienne de Raffinage (SIR)
  • SCA Société Civile Agricole (cotton)
  • La Compagnie Ivoirienne de Distribution d'Eau Potable (CIAPE)
  • Compagnie Ivorienne de Distribution d'Electricité (CIDEL)
  • Société Ivoirienne de Banque (SIB)
  • Cotera SA (cotton)

Culture and Language Overview

Ivory Coast's cultural heritage is rich and diverse, blending traditional elements with modern influences. Music, dance, storytelling, and visual arts are key aspects of Ivorian culture, with major festivals and events taking place annually. French is the official language of the country, but local languages such as Dioula, Baoule, and MCVC (Bété, Chief's Zigua, Avikam, Zígue) are also commonly spoken. Religious practices and traditions are also an integral part of Ivorian culture, with traditional African religions coexisting with Christianity and Islam.

Cultural Highlights

  • Fête de la Musique de Mariatou
  • Fete des Mamans (Mother's Day)
  • Festival de la Caoutchouc à Bouake
  • La Nuit de la Musique Africaine et de la Diaspora
  • Mowches – a popular form of African dance

Geography and Landmarks Overview

Ivory Coast covers an area of approximately 322,460 square kilometers (124,530 square miles), and comprises rich and varied topographical features. The country's coastline stretches for approximately 515 kilometers (320 miles), and its terrain includes savannas, forests, hills, and plateaus. Mount Tonkpi (986 meters / 3,235 feet) is the country's highest peak. Ivorian landscapes house several noteworthy landmarks, including nature reserves, ancient ruins, and tropical rainforests.

Notable Landmarks

  • Basilique Notre-Dame de la Paix
  • Le Grand Mosque de Yamoussoukro
  • Laurent Pokou Stadium (stadium)
  • Christ-Roi Cathedral (cathedral)
  • Grand-Bassam (historical town and UNESCO World Heritage Site)
  • La Pyramide de Cocody (pyramid-shaped monument)
  • Bell Tower of Yamoussoukro (bell tower)
  • La Grance Arboretum (arboretum)

National Holidays

  • New Year's Day (January 1)
  • Easter Sunday (April)
  • Easter Monday (April)
  • Labour Day (May 1)
  • Africa Day (May 25)
  • Assumption Day (August 15)
  • Ivory Coast Independence Day (August 7)
  • All Saints' Day (November 1)
  • Christmas Day (December 25)

Political Stability

Ivory Coast's political history has been defined by periods of political stability and instability. The country gained independence from France in 1960, and transitioned through a series of democratically-elected governments in the ensuing decades. However, political instability has also been a persistent issue, with major political crises taking place in 1999, 2002, and 2010-2011 (including the Ivorian Civil War and a subsequent political impasse). Since the end of the civil war in 2011, Ivorian authorities have taken numerous steps towards greater democracy, transparency, and accountability. However, ongoing issues affecting political stability include electoral disputes, corruption, and social inequality.

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