Facts for visitors: Useful tips for business and leisure travelers


Business etiquette is similar to that in France. A handshake is appropriate for both men and women upon first meeting someone new. Once a woman meets someone for the second time, three kisses on the cheek, just as in some regions in France, are an appropriate greeting. Before discussing business, it is considered polite to break the ice by discussing family, health or the weather.


In public hospitals, waiting times can be long, but there are many to choose from in Abidjan, though complicated surgical procedures are best carried out outside of Côte d’Ivoire if possible. There are also a few private clinics in Abidjan that provide health care that meets international standards.


Muslims make up roughly 39% of the population, while Christians (mostly Roman Catholics) comprise around 33%. The remaining people follow indigenous religions (12%) or have no religion (7%).


Côte d’Ivoire has used the West African Communauté Financière d’Afrique (CFA) franc since 1945, with the CFA franc (code: XOF) linked directly to the French Treasury. Through this mechanism the CFA franc is pegged to the euro at the fixed rate of €1:CFA655.957.


Côte d’Ivoire uses a 220-volt, 50-Hz electricity network. European two-pin plugs without a ground pin are widely used. Modern buildings are equipped with European three-pin plugs.


Travellers should take necessary precautions, especially at night. Abidjan is the most secure part of the country and movement during daylight hours is safe and checkpoints are rare. Travelling between different cities by car can be very dangerous at night and is not recommended.

For destinations far from Abidjan, it is advised to travel in a convoy by day, though closer locations, such as Assinie, Grand Bassam and Yamoussoukro, can be reached in relative safety in a single car during the day and evening hours. The only challenge later at night is the scarcity of cars on the road.


The international dialling code for Côte d’Ivoire is 225. The country currently has six mobile operators, and prices have fallen in recent years, though the current quality of the network leaves room for improvement. 3G services became available in 2012 and wireless connections are mostly only available in hotels. 4G services are currently being tested and will soon be available.

Business Hours

Côte d’Ivoire follows a “continuous working day” policy, which means that business hours run from around 8:00AM to 4:00PM. Lunch is generally eaten between noon and 2:00PM. The private sector follows regular European hours with later closing times, especially for foreign firms. Friday afternoons are usually calm within public entities.

Visitor Visas

Since January 2014, most visitors to the country can obtain a visa upon arrival provided that they have pre-enrolled online. Business visas require an invitation from a Côte d’Ivoire-based entity and in some cases proof of employment is also necessary. Business visas are generally multi-entry and have a duration of 90 days, but they can be granted for a one-year period. Foreigners residing in the country typically have a residence permit obtained through their employer.


People generally get around with privately owned cars, but taxis are ubiquitous throughout the day and, in some neighbourhoods, late at night. They are easy to flag down and can either be shared with other passengers, as is the case with yellow cabs, or rented for an individual ride, as with the red cars. Rates vary between CFA500 (€0.75) for a short journey, to CFA5000 (€7.50) for a long nighttime itinerary crossing much of the city.

Private taxis can generally be found at the highend hotels, and minibus services are available for the intrepid traveller. Intercity transportation is mostly done by train, plane, or car. Buses are available for those willing to rough it, though this is not recommended given the security situation in some areas.

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