The Republic of Côte d’Ivoire
Geographical Features of the Country
Located in the western part of the African continent and in the tropics, Côte d’Ivoire covers an area of 322,462 km². It is bounded to the south by the Atlantic Ocean, to the east by Ghana, to the north by Burkina Faso and Mali, and to the west by Guinea and Liberia. Yamoussoukro has been the political capital of the country since 1983 and Abidjan is the economic capital. In addition to Abidjan and Yamoussoukro, the other major cities are Bouaké, the second largest city in the country; San Pedro, which has the second largest port in the country; Daloa, Korhogo, Man and Abengourou.
The official language is French. The languages spoken in the country are Baoulé, Malinké-Dioula, Sénoufo, Dan, Agni, Bété, Attié, Guéré, etc...
With an annual growth rate of 3.3%, the total population was estimated at 22,670,000 inhabitants in 2013, with at least 3 million immigrant workers living in the country with their families, mainly from other countries of the sub-region.
Côte d’Ivoire is divided into four (4) agro-climatic zones:
- The tropical transition zone with a single rainy season from April to October and rainfall of 950 to 1,700 mm/year;
- The equatorial transition zone 1 with two rainy seasons from March to June and September to October, with a total rainfall of 950 to 1,600 mm/year;
- The equatorial transition zone 2 also has two rainy seasons from April to July (heavy rainfall) and from September to November (irregular rainfall), with rainfall of 1,300 to 2,400 mm/year;
- The mountainous zone with one long rainy season from March to October, and rainfall of 1,500-2,200 mm/year.
A country with tiered rows of plateaus, steep terraces sometimes forming ledges, Côte d'Ivoire is essentially flat. On this tabular set of ironstone, smooth ruptures are caused by garlands of hills.
Currency and Exchange
The currency in Abidjan is the CFA franc, the common currency for member countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA). It can be exchanged for other foreign currencies at commercial banks, foreign exchange bureaux and hotels. The CFA franc is pegged to the Euro at a fixed exchange rate of €1 = CFAF 655.957.
Convertible currencies can be exchanged freely in banks, foreign exchange bureaux and major hotels.
National, international and Internet communication services are available at reasonable costs in all hotels in Abidjan.
Communication in available in Côte d’Ivoire through earth telecommunication lines, submarine systems and fiber optics. Five mobile phone network operators use the international GSM system (Orange, MTN, MOOV, GREEN, and KOOZ). One can opt for a subscription contract or for prepaid cards. Prepaid cards are sold by authorized distributors, and are also available in shopping centres.
The power voltage in Côte d’Ivoire is 220 Volts.
Abidjan, the most populous city in French-speaking West Africa, is the economic capital of Côte d’Ivoire, and Yamoussoukro is the administrative and political capital. According to the country’s authorities, Abidjan had a population of 4,707,000 inhabitants in 2014, representing 20% of the total population of the country. Only Lagos, the former capital of Nigeria, has a higher population in the region. Regarded as the West African cultural hub, Abidjan is constantly growing and is characterized by high industrialization and urbanization. The city is divided into two parts, which are further subdivided into municipalities, each with its own characteristics: the modern districts, which are more of the European type, are Plateau and Cocody, with posh villas and large gardens, while others like Marcory and Treichville, tend to reproduce the African-village settings. Around Ebrié lagoon, one can also find houses on stilts.
Abidjan also has the largest port in West Africa.
For the traveler, Abidjan offers many amenities: hotels, sports complexes, nightlife, beaches, etc.
One can also visit the Banco Park at the entrance to the city, which is a remnant of the forest that once surrounded the lagoon, with its central lake, coffee and cocoa plantations, and the small river that is used for washing clothes. There are also a few notable landmarks: the mosques of Cocody and Treichville, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the City Museum, the Ki Yi M’Bock Village, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the National Museum, and the Abidjan centre for handicrafts, or Centre artisanal de la ville d’Abidjan (CAVA), located in the Treichville municipality. Many music festivals are also organized regularly in the city.
Tourist Sites and Historical Monuments
Côte d'Ivoire has 520 km of coastline on the Atlantic Ocean: fine sandy beaches, coconut trees, creeks, cliffs, lagoons for swimming, surfing, angling, water sports, and sailing. Grand-Bassam, Assinie and Sassandra are the main seaside tourist destinations. In addition, there are cities such as San Pedro, which boasts the sumptuous Monogaga Beach, and Grand Béréby, which owes its popularity to its gorgeous Baie des sirènes (Mermaid Bay) beach.
The country has many national parks and nearly 300 nature reserves that offer a wide variety of wildlife and landscapes from the North to the South. Since 1996, the Ivorian Government has been supervising a project to protect wildlife areas in Côte d’Ivoire. In addition to these, Ivorian villages also offer beautiful sites and attractions. However, their sacred nature makes their development and access to the general public very delicate.
Traditional and Religious Tourism
Traditional tourism that can easily be supplemented with cultural tourism: The Ivorian population is a mosaic of over sixty ethnic groups representing as many beliefs, languages, traditions and crafts. In Yamoussoukro, there is the Our Lady of Peace Basilica, whose dome is larger than that of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The north of the country, with a Muslim majority, also has many ancient mosques.
Weather Conditions during the Annual Meetings (May 2015)
In May, the average temperature is generally 25°C minimum and 32°C maximum, with six (6) hours of sunlight per day. Approximately 16 days of rainfall are expected during the month.
Countries whose nationals are exempt from Visa formalities in Côte d’Ivoire
ECOWAS Member States:
Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape-Verde, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo.
Other countries not subject to visa requirements:
Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Morocco, Mauritania, Seychelles, Singapore, Chad, Tunisia, Philippines
List of countries that have signed agreements abolishing entry visas for official passports with the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire:
South Africa, Austria, Brazil, Gabon, Israel, Iran, Uganda.