Expat Guide to Ivory Coast Living in Africa

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Relocating to a new country is an exciting yet daunting experience for expats. Ivory Coast, located in West Africa, offers a rich culture, bustling cities, and spectacular natural beauty. In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through the essentials of living in Ivory Coast as an expat.

Culture and Traditions

Understanding the local culture is key to acclimating as an expat. Ivory Coast is known for its warm, welcoming people and strong family values. Traditional practices such as communal living, respect for elders, and elaborate wedding ceremonies are still prevalent. This unique blend of modernity and tradition creates an intriguing tapestry that captivates many expats.

Climate and Weather

Ivory Coast boasts a tropical climate with two distinct seasons: a dry season from November to March and a rainy season from April to October. The average temperature hovers around 27°C (81°F), making it a desirable destination for those seeking warmth. Be prepared for heavy rainfall during the rainy season, especially in the southern regions.

Safety and Security

Safety concerns may deter some expats from moving to Ivory Coast. However, most violent crimes are concentrated in urban areas, and the police force is generally responsive. Take common-sense precautions such as avoiding deserted areas at night and securely storing valuable items. In addition, invest in a reliable vehicle with working locks and consider employing a security company for added peace of mind.


Ivory Coast's healthcare system is improving but still lags behind international standards. Public hospitals may lack resources, leading most expats to opt for private healthcare. Major cities like Abidjan and Bouaké offer world-class medical facilities and specialized care. Adequate medical insurance is crucial to ensuring financial security during your expat tenure.


Expat families in Ivory Coast may choose to enroll their children in international schools for a more Westernized education. Options include the International School of Abidjan and the International School of Bouaké. The Ivorian education system, while improving, can present challenges for non-French speakers. Be prepared for limited resources and outdated teaching methods.

Travel and Transportation

Ivory Coast is connected to the rest of Africa and the world via the Port Bouet International Airport. Regular domestic and international flights make traveling easier. Road infrastructure is improving, but traffic congestion and poor road conditions can be challenging. Consider investing in a reliable vehicle or using taxis and motorbikes for shorter distances.

Business and Economy

Ivory Coast's economy is growing, offering ample opportunities for expats in sectors like finance, oil, and agriculture. The business environment is favorable, with a simplified tax system and reasonable business costs. French is the lingua franca for business and administration. Familiarize yourself with Ivorian business etiquette and customs, such as a strong emphasis on relationships and hierarchy.


Ivory Coast provides a unique blend of adventure, culture, and relative affordability, making it an attractive destination for many expats. By understanding the essentials covered in this guide, you'll be well-prepared to embrace Ivorian life and thrive in your new expat community.