Uban transport plans for Abidjan progress


Transport authorities in Côte d’Ivoire’s economic capital of Abidjan are working on a medium-term plan to replace and expand the city’s public buses and boats, raise the number of bridges in the congested city from three to five and construct a metro network.

Bus Service

Public transport in Abidjan is operated by the state-owned Abidjan Transport Company (Société des Transports Abidjanais, SOTRA), which manages the urban bus system, as well as a network of passenger ferries on the Ébrié lagoon. The firm is undertaking a major fleet expansion programme, and while the 2016-20 National Development Plan (Plan Nationale de Dé veloppement, PND) allocates CFA156.7bn (€235.1m) to the company for the acquisition of 2000 new buses by 2020, many of the new vehicles will financed by donors such as the World Bank and African Development Bank.

SOTRA has already ordered 500 buses from Indian firm Tata Motors, 117 of which were delivered in April 2017 as the first instalment. For the 1500 yet to be ordered, the company is studying bids from Tata, Scania and Iveco. The operator intends for the new buses to replace its current fleet of around 300, which will be entirely removed from service due to their high cost of maintenance and safety concerns.

The firm further plans to rework its bus routes to adapt to the changing needs of the population. “Traditionally, activity in Abidjan was centred around the Plateau area, but that’s no longer the case,” Bouaké Méïté, director-general of SOTRA, told OBG, adding that the new network would also reflect the construction of the metro and the expanded lagoon transport system. Méïté said that the restructuring of the bus network would lead to a reduction in the use of informal shared taxis as well, known locally as woroworos. “Woroworos are at least three times more expensive than bus tickets and much less secure,” he told OBG.

Urban Maritime

SOTRA also intends to acquire 50 new boats by 2020, with a capacity of 200-250 passengers each. While the company remained in negotiations with potential providers at the end of 2017, it is aiming to receive its first deliveries in 2018.

Two private companies also offer maritime routes on the lagoon. One is Société des Transports Lagunaires, which was founded by former government minister Adama Bictogo and launched in March 2017. The firm aimed to enlarge its fleet to 32 vessels by the end of the year, up from 16 in June 2017. The other operator, Citrans, received six vessels that same month to bring its fleet size to seven, and began offering services.


The authorities have been considering the construction of a metro in Abidjan since the late 1980s. Current plans are for a 37-km rail line that will transport 300,000-500,000 passengers per day, linking the city’s centre with its northern and southern suburbs, as well as its international airport. A build-operate-transfer concession for the project was awarded in 2015 to the consortium STAR, in which French firms Bouygues Travaux Publics and Keolis have 33% and 25% stakes, respectively, and Korean companies Hyundai Rotem and Dongsan Engineering hold 33% and 9%.

As of early 2017 the consortium and the authorities had not yet finalised several aspects of the agreement, including financing costs and the extent to which the government would guarantee traffic along the network. However, in mid-July the French government announced that it would make €1.4bn available to finance the project. Construction work began on November 30, 2017, which should allow the first line of the Métro d’Abidjan to enter into service in 2022.


Construction of two trans-lagoon bridges is also under way to supplement three existing structures in the city. The first is the 7.5-km Azito bridge between Yopougon and the Ile Boulay. The project began in 2008 and has been allocated CFA30bn (€45m) under the PND, but construction has since stalled. The other, connecting Yopougon to the Plateau district, has a budget of CFA130bn (€195m). The 1400-metre bridge, which is to carry 70,000 vehicles per day, is due by 2020.

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The Report: Côte d'Ivoire 2018

Transport chapter from The Report: Côte d'Ivoire 2018

Cover of The Report: Côte d'Ivoire 2018

The Report

This article is from the Transport chapter of The Report: Cote d'Ivoire 2018. Explore other chapters from this report.

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