- In October 1985, the government of Côte d’Ivoire requested that country no longer be referred to as ‘Ivory Coast’, but only as Côte d’Ivoire
- Soccer is Côte d’Ivoire’s most popular sport, and its most famous player is former Chelsea player, Didier Drogba.
- Côte d’Ivoire is one of the world’s largest cocoa producers.
- Having originally been the capital, Abidjan lost this title in 1983. Despite this, many government departments remain in the city.
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- Malaria is prevalent in most parts of Côte d’Ivoire – including Abidjan.
- Lease practices in Côte d’Ivoire tend to favour the landlord. For example the tenant is responsible for paying the estate agent’s commission.
- Finding suitable, good quality accommodation can be time consuming and challenging.
- Furnished accommodation options are largely unavailable in Abidjan.
- Rentals are typically paid quarterly in advance.
- Leases in Abidjan will need to be drafted in French.
An Overview of Côte d’Ivoire
Following a period of economic depression (largely due to political instability), Côte d’Ivoire’s economy is in recovery and experiencing steady growth. Côte d’Ivoire’s key exports are cocoa, petroleum and crude rubber; while its major trade partners are Nigeria, the USA, Netherlands, France, and Germany.
Côte d’Ivoire’s capital is Yamoussoukro but Abidjan is the commercial capital, where most expatriates are based. Yamoussoukro is considerably smaller than Abidjan with a population of 966,000 people to Abidjan’s 4.3 million people.
Living in Abidjan
Abidjan is a large and vibrant city and while the size of the expatriate community decreased as a result of the 2002-2004 and 2010-2011 political crises, it is rising again. Expatriates living in the city have cited culture shock, particularly if they are unable to speak French, and assimilation into local society as the biggest challenges. From a goods and services, perspective, there are many shopping options – from informal markets to supermarkets. The city’s restaurants and shops have a distinctly French influence.
To get around Abidjan expatriates will require their own vehicles. Traffic congestion during peak times can best be managed by selecting homes and schools in close proximity to and offices to minimise commute times.
Housing in Abidjan
Finding secure, good quality accommodation in Abidjan is particularly challenging. Finding a suitable home can take as long as 3 months. Homes in Abidjan will typically be in the form of apartments (ranging from 2 – 4 bedrooms) and free-standing houses (ranging from 3 – 5 bedrooms). Preferred areas of housing for expatriates in Abidjan include Deux-Plateau, Riviera and Cocody in the northern part of the city and Marcory and Biétry in the south of the city.
Schooling in Abidjan
The education system in Côte d’Ivoire comprises of primary education (6 years) and secondary education (6 years). Abidjan is host to a number of private and public schools. Expatriates are advised to send their children to one of the cities international or private schools. These schools usually follow either a French curriculum or an American curriculum depending on the language of instruction of the school.