|The Host Country
Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 6/21/2004 6:58 AM
Côte d'Ivoire, on the Gulf of Guinea, covers 200,440 square
kilometers (124,500 square miles) and is about the size of New
Mexico. It is bounded on the west by Liberia and Guinea, on the
north by Mali and Burkina Faso, on the east by Ghana, and on the
south by 547 kilometers (340 miles) of Atlantic coastline.
The southern third of the country is largely covered by tropical
rain forest. A network of interconnecting lagoons parallels the
coast from the Ghanaian border 322 kilometers (200 miles) westward.
Important cash crops are grown in the forest belt, but to the north
lies a savanna area of lateritic soil where vegetation becomes more
sparse. In the northwest, the Man Mountains, ascending to 1,400
meters (4,600 feet), break the rolling inland plain that rises from
the sea to about 300 meters (1,000 feet) in the north. Four rivers,
the Cavally, Sassandra, Bandama, and Comoe, flow from north to
In the south, the tropical climate keeps temperatures between
24°C (75°F) and 32°C (90°F). The southern region features two rainy
seasons, May to July and September to December. Humidity averages
85%. Over half the average annual precipitation (208 cm or 82 inches
in Abidjan) falls in May, June, and July. Even then, however, the
sun often shines. Temperatures vary in the north from 24°C to over
37°C (100°F). The northern region's one rainy season, May-October,
averages 130 cm (51 inches) annual rainfall with 71% average
Population Last Updated: 6/21/2004 11:58 AM
Côte d'Ivoire's population, estimated at approximately 16.5
million, is growing at about 3.2% each year. It includes more than 6
million non-Ivoirian Africans, approximately 16,500 French and
10,000 other Europeans, and a community of Lebanese estimated at
more than 100,000. All West African states have expatriate
communities in Côte d'Ivoire, but by far the largest communities are
from Burkina Faso (3,500,000), Mali (1,500,000), Guinea (420,000),
and Ghana (600,000), and smaller populations from Senegal, Niger,
Togo, Benin and Nigeria. Some 60,000-70,000 Liberian refugees reside
in western Côte d'Ivoire.
Approximately 50% of Côte d'Ivoire's population is urban, with
more than 20% residing in the country's two largest cities, Abidjan
and Bouake. The next three largest towns, Daloa, Gagnoa, and
Korhogo, each have over 300,000 inhabitants.
The approximately 60 separate ethnic groups in Côte d'Ivoire,
each with its own language or dialect, may be grouped into five or
six major ethnic categories. Of these, the Akan group includes the
largest Ivoirian ethnic group, the influential Baoule who inhabit
the center of the country, and the Agni who reside in the east. The
north is populated by the Voltaic group-the Senoufo, Koulango, and
Lobi. The Mande are divided into northern and southern groups, the
more recently established northern Mande, including the Malinke in
the northwest and the Dioula who reside around Kong in the
northeast. The southern Mande include the Yacouba, Toura, and Gouro,
who inhabit the center-west of the country. The Krou group consists
of 15 ethnic groups, the most prominent being the Bete, who inhabit
the center-west and southwest of the country. In addition, there are
numerous small ethnic groups living along the lagoons on the
southern coast of the country, collectively referred to as the
Lagoon peoples, that include the Ebrie, the original indigenous
population of Abidjan. With the exception of the southern Mande,
established since ancient times, and the Senoufo, residents for
several centuries, most Ivoirians are the descendants of relatively
recent immigrants. The Baoule and Agni, for example, are closely
related to the Ashanti of Ghana and emigrated from that region in
Although most recent government statistics indicate that 38% of
the population is Muslim and 26% is Christian (most of whom are
Catholic), more realistic estimates place the Muslim population
between 55% and 65%. Many of these are resident aliens from the
Sahel countries. Official government estimates place traditional
animist religions at 17% of the population. Some 13% are considered
"without religion." Both Muslim and Christian holidays are
celebrated nationally. Muslim and Christian populations continue to
grow at the expense of the traditional religions. In recent years
there has been a large increase in the number of Protestant
missionary groups operating in the country, leading to an increase
in the Protestant portion of the Christian population. The most
significant religious trend, however, is the increasing number of
conversions to Islam over the past decade. The Muslim proportion of
the population has also been growing from immigration.
Since 1964, polygamy has been illegal. However, it is still
widely practiced throughout Côte d'Ivoire through traditional
weddings. The courts and other civil institutions do not recognize
such marriages. At the same time, monogamy is prevalent among urban
and educated groups. The 1964 civil code also bans child betrothal
and bride price, and it promulgates rules on civil registry,
marriage, separation and divorce, paternity and adoption,
succession, and wills. The civil code is designed to provide
uniformity for a country with diverse traditional practices. It is
also an attempt to modernize Ivoirian society by fostering monogamy,
nuclear families, and patrilineal, instead of matrilineal, descent
rules. As of 1998, a bill before the National Assembly would also
strengthen the legal protections of women's rights.
Public Institutions Last Updated: 6/21/2004 6:59 AM
The constitution provides for a system of government with a
strong executive branch, a single legislative chamber, and a
separate judiciary. The executive branch is headed by the President,
elected for a five-year term, who is assisted by a Cabinet of
Constitutional changes passed by the National Assembly in July
1998, creating a Senate, lengthening the presidential term to seven
years, and allowing the President to postpone elections, were under
discussion with the opposition as of late 1998. In 2000, a new
constitution returned the presidential term of office to five years.
The National Assembly, the legislative body, has 225 members
elected by direct universal suffrage for 5-year terms. The Supreme
Court is composed of four chambers: constitutional, judicial,
administrative, and auditing, and is undergoing reform.
The Democratic Party of Côte d'Ivoire had been the dominant force
in Ivoirian politics since its formation in the pre-independence
period. A major political development occurred in 1990 when the
country held its first multiparty elections. With the December 1993
death of President Felix Houphouet-Boigny, National Assembly
President and constitutional successor Henri Konan Bedie became
President. Dissatisfaction with his rule, including numerous
corruption scandals, amid a deteriorating economy, prompted a
military takeover in December 1999. Thereafter, Army Chief of Staff
General Guei seized power, and the country was governed by a
military junta until the organization of elections in October 2000.
Those elections, in which two prominent parties, the longtime ruling
PDCI and the opposition RDR, which had earlier split from the ruling
PDCI, saw their party candidates eliminated. The hotly contested
presidential elections exacerbated divisions already stirred by the
adoption in the summer of 2000 of a constitution, which deepened
divisions between northern and southern populations.
When early results showed the FPI's Gbagbo in the lead, junta
ruler General Guei abruptly stopped the process and proclaimed
himself the winner. That act brought thousands of Gbagbo's
supporters into the streets of Abidjan. As bloody fighting broke
out, Guei fled, and the Supreme Court declared Gbagbo the winner. In
an effort at national reconciliation, Gbagbo promised a government
of national unity to include all the parties, and the political
situation seemed to calm. That temporary surface calm, however, was
shattered once again on September 19, 2002, when exiled military
personnel and their cohorts within the Ivoirian army mounted a
failed coup attempt, which evolved into an armed rebellion that
split the country into two. The coup attempt resulted in the death
of General Guei under unclear circumstances as well as that of the
Interior Minister Boga Doudon, considered hostile to northerners.
The rebel group took control of Bouake, the second largest city, and
the north. Later, a new military front emerged in the west. A French
brokered agreement, the Linas-Marcoussis Accord (LMA), obliged the
political parties to agree to a power-sharing government with
proportional representation from all political parties under the
guidance of a new Prime Minister, Seydou Diarra. The GOCI and
ex-rebel New Forces militaries signed an "end of war" declaration in
July 2003 and pledged to implement LMA and begin a program of
Demobilization, Disarmament, and Reintegration (DDR). The formation
of the new government was completed in September 2003 with the
naming of the highly contested Defense and Security Ministers. As of
mid 2004, the power-sharing government has broken down, perhaps
irretrievably, as the political entities bicker over governance
Côte d'Ivoire became a U.N. member in 1960. Maintaining ties with
its Francophone neighbors, it is a member of Conseil de l'Entente (a
group including Niger, Burkina Faso, Benin, and Togo). Other
memberships include the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the
West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU or UEMOA), and the
Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS or, in French,
Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:01 AM
Since independence, Côte d'Ivoire has spent a significant portion
of its budget on education. Currently, 33% of the operational budget
goes toward education, which Ivoirians view as essential for
personal advancement and for the overall development of the country.
Public school enrollment for 2000-2001 was estimated at 2 million in
elementary schools, 634,000 in secondary schools, and at least
97,000 in higher education.
Academics are respected members of society and, unlike some other
Francophone countries in the region, academic institutions are a
prime labor pool for ministerial and senior-level government
The Ministry of National Education administers primary,
secondary, pre-university professional, and technical education for
the entire country. Professional and technical education is becoming
increasingly important as competition for space in the higher
education system becomes greater and as the university produces more
graduates than there are jobs.
Another ministry, the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific
Research, responsible for post-secondary general, professional, and
technical education, directs all research efforts in the country and
works closely with Ivoirian students abroad. Agreements for
educational exchanges, Fulbright programs, training programs, and
other bilateral and multilateral educational programs are all
arranged through this ministry.
Until the beginning of the 1992-93 academic year, Côte d'Ivoire
had only one university, the University of Cocody, which was
established in Abidjan in 1963. The initial student capacity of the
University of Cocody was 7,000. For more than a decade, a large
number of Ivoirians enrolled there before they pursued graduate
studies in France or elsewhere. However, the steady growth in the
number of students entering higher education in Côte d'Ivoire has
outstripped the ability of the Government to provide adequate
facilities. This has resulted in the university having to
accommodate up to 35,000 students per year in facilities planned
initially for only 7,000 students. During the 1993-94 academic year,
the University of Cocody added three other affiliated campuses in
Adjame-Abobo (an Abidjan suburb), Bouake (the second largest city
located in the center of the country), and in Korhogo (located in
the north of the country).
Apart from the University of Cocody, there are other institutions
of higher learning. As Ivoirians at the University of Cocody begin
to look beyond the French educational models, closer ties have been
established between Ivoirian research institutions and American
institutions. Some Ivoirian research institutes, such as the
Ivoirian Center for Social and Economic Research (CIRES) and the
Center for Audio-Visual Teaching and Research (CERCOM), have a large
number of U.S. graduates on their staff and, consequently, are
receptive to American innovations in education.
Supplemental to the University of Cocody are Côte d'Ivoire's five
grandes ecoles, modeled on the French system, which are prestigious
institutes of higher learning designed to train Ivoirians in
specialized technical fields which used to be dominated by French
expatriates in the country. Three institutes (ENSTP, INSET, and
ENSA), specializing in civil engineering, management and business,
and agriculture, respectively, are located in the first president's
hometown of Yamoussoukro, a 21/2-hour drive north of Abidjan.
Admission into the three schools is more difficult than to the
University of Cocody (which is open to all who have a baccalauréat
or high school diploma); applicants must pass rigorous written and
oral tests to be accepted. Also, unlike the university, students
graduating from these institutes have a better chance of securing
employment. In fact, until the recent economic crisis, many of the
students went directly from schools into slotted positions in the
government and private sector.
The other two grandes ecoles, in public administration (ENA,
modeled after its French counterpart) and teacher training (ENS),
are located in Abidjan. They supply a steady stream of civil
servants and teachers for the government. ENA also has training
courses for junior and mid-level government cadres. The best and
brightest technocrats study at the grandes ecoles.
Côte d'Ivoire has approximately 90 government and 100 private
high schools, the graduates of which are all eligible to attend the
University of Cocody. Approximately 2,000 Ivoirians teach English in
Various research institutes study coffee, cocoa, rubber, cotton,
oils and oleaginous plants, forestry, and marine life to determine
the best strains, growing conditions, control of natural enemies,
efficient production, and processing techniques. African and U.S.
institutions maintain close contact regarding research in these
The National Museum, with a small but excellent collection of
local art and artifacts, was renovated in 1988. Artisan training
centers are located in Bingerville, Grand-Bassam, Daloa, Korhogo,
and other places upcountry.
For art and objets d'art collectors, Abidjan has several small
but well stocked private art and sculpture galleries which are
frequented by both expatriates and elite Ivoirians.
Writers and filmmakers are also viewed as important in defining a
national ethos. Their views on society, as expressed in their works
and in press interviews, are featured in the cultural sections of
the newspapers and on television and radio.
Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:02 AM
Since the colonial period, Côte d'Ivoire's economy has been based
on the production and export of tropical products, along with
forestry and fishing activities. The country currently produces 40
percent of the world's cocoa and is a major exporter of bananas,
coffee, cotton, palm oil, pineapples, rubber, tropical wood
products, and tuna. The economy made steady progress in the 1970's
because of its stability and open and liberal investment policies.
Beginning in the 1980s and the early 1990s, the economy performed
less robustly as the world price of cocoa and coffee exports, on
which it relied heavily, took a steep decline. Together, these two
products accounted for nearly 40 percent of export earnings. The
January 1994 devaluation of the CFA Franc along with continued high
population growth (3.5 percent) resulted in a steady fall in living
standards. Gross national product per capita was $727 in 1996 but
had fallen to $669 by 2003. It had reached over one thousand dollars
in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
The 1994 currency devaluation and other structural adjustment
measures boosted the agricultural sector, although reliance on one
of two commodities continues to be a structural weakness. The GOCI
has begun encouraging export diversification, intermediate
processing of cocoa beans, and light manufacturing to reduce this
exposure with some success. Processed cocoa exports currently
represent 20 percent of total cocoa exports. Electricity exports to
neighboring countries represent 25 percent of total energy
Côte d'Ivoire's economic performance rebounded in the 1995-97
period with growth rates averaging seven percent, because of higher
world commodity prices and the growth of the service sector.
Beginning in 1999, however, recurrent political crises halted the
momentum of trade and private investment that underpinned the
renewed economic expansion. In early 2002, following the 1999 coup,
the country began re-engaging with international lenders and was
meeting targets for growth and government finance, with stronger
revenues and spending restraints. The incipient economic recovery
was interrupted by the outbreak of hostilities in September 2002.
New loans and programs totaling more than USD 500 million were
put on hold after this coup attempt and ensuing political crisis.
GDP has fallen in each successive year since the onset of the
military rebellion and the de facto split of the country as security
concerns raised pressures for crisis-related spending. These
problems have delayed planned public investment in human capital,
health care and economic infrastructure needed to sustain growth. A
return to political and economic stability is critical if Côte
d'Ivoire is to realize its potential in the region.
The partition of the country negatively impacted public finances.
The government suspended bilateral debt payments, but continued to
honor multilateral debt service with substantial revenues from
higher international world prices from its cocoa. Côte d'Ivoire
remains an important regional economic hub, with a modern port,
transport and communications infrastructure, serving as a transit
point for goods to landlocked neighboring countries such as Burkina
Faso, Mali, and Niger. As the largest economy in the sub-region, it
is in a position to resume economic growth once political stability
Foreign direct investment (FDI) plays a key role in the economy,
accounting for between 40 and 45 percent of total capital in
Ivoirian firms. French investment accounts for about one-quarter of
the total capital in Ivoirian enterprises. Major investment projects
over the last several years included France Telecom's purchase of
the majority of the privatized Côte d'Ivoire Telecommunications
Company; several cocoa-processing investments (two of which are
U.S.); continued offshore oil and gas exploration and development
(two of three are U.S.); and a second, independent power generation
facility. The coup put on hold a private toll bridge across the
lagoon in Abidjan and delayed a sizeable port expansion.
Important French investors include Societe Generale and Credit
Lyonnais (major banks), Total Elf Fina (petroleum), Orange
(telecommunications), Mimran (flour milling), BGI (beverages),
Bollore (shipping and travel), and Bouygues (natural gas,
electricity, water, construction).
In recent years, the U.S. has become the second largest foreign
direct investor in Côte d'Ivoire with investments totaling USD
400-450 million. The largest U.S. investments are in offshore
petroleum exploration and development. A consortium lead by
Houston-based Devon Energy invested over USD 100 million in the past
five years. The Foxtrot offshore gas and oil project (partnership
between U.S. company Mondoil, Bouygues, and the Ivoirian gas
company) required more than USD 100 million to develop, of which
Mondoil (and its predecessor Apache) put in USD 20 million. Texaco
and Exxon Mobil have national distribution systems in which they
have invested about USD 30 million each over the years. They each
own a minority share of the SIR petroleum refinery. Vanco Oil
Company is exploring promising areas offshore, having spent more
than USD 10 million on geological research.
With the liberalization of the cocoa and coffee sector,
U.S.-based Cargill invested about USD 100 million in cocoa
processing and shipping facilities in Abidjan and San Pedro. Another
U.S. multinational, Archer-Daniels-Midland (ADM), entered the cocoa
processing and trading business by buying out a large Ivoirian
company for more than USD 30 million. Citibank is an important
presence in the financial sector, performing merchant and investment
bank functions and handling some of the Government's large accounts.
Principal U.S. exports are rice and wheat, plastic materials and
resins, Kraft paper, agricultural chemicals, telecommunications, and
oil and gas equipment. Principal U.S. imports are cocoa and cocoa
products, petroleum, rubber, and coffee.
Automobiles Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:04 AM
A car is necessary in Abidjan. Married personnel on the
diplomatic list may import up to two personally owned vehicles duty
free during their tour. All other personnel may import only one
vehicle duty free during their tour.
Customs will not deliver the duty-free import permit for
personally owned vehicles until the arrival of the employee at post.
Do not ship your car to arrive before you do, as it will be held in
the port where it is subject to damage by salty air and to expensive
Mandatory third-party-liability insurance is purchased by the
employee after arrival at post.
Motorcycles of 50 cc and above have the same formalities and
procedures for registration in Côte d'Ivoire as vehicles and should
not be shipped in household effects without prior approval of the
On an employee's final departure from post, a vehicle or
motorcycle imported duty free must either be exported, sold to
another person with duty-free privileges, or sold on the open
market. If the vehicle or motorcycle is sold on the open market, the
seller is responsible for all taxes and duties, which run about 100%
of import declared price plus shipping.
You can ship foreign cars to Côte d'Ivoire at U.S Government
expense. Practically all foreign cars can be purchased locally at
duty-free prices. Compact cars are preferable due to the high cost
Cars need not be boxed for shipment to post, but accessories such
as spare tires, radios and CD players should be removed and shipped
with household effects. It is recommended that you purchase
insurance in the U.S. to cover all risks while in transit. The
Embassy clears all vehicles when they arrive in port and arranges
for basic servicing (a "mise en marche"). The owner must pay for any
repairs or servicing not included in the mise en marche process.
A bill of sale and local vehicle inspection or roadworthy test
are required for the registration of vehicles. Third-party liability
insurance, registration, and drivers licenses (U.S. state license
and International Driving Permit obtained from AAA) are mandatory.
The Embassy will assist you with the procurement of the first two
items at post. However, new arrivals should come with a valid U.S.
and International drivers license.
Insurance companies here will not provide all-risk insurance for
cars three or more years old. You can obtain a physical damage
policy in the U.S. with coverage extended to the Côte d'Ivoire at
about 5% of the automobile's value.
Automobiles sold and serviced locally include Fiat, all Japanese,
all French, and most German cars.
Spare parts for European cars may have to be ordered from Paris.
American car parts must be ordered from the U.S. Bring with you a
supply of the spare parts normally replaced during regular tune-ups,
extra spare tires (for reasons of cost rather than availability),
Driving is on the right. Yielding to the car on the right
prevails in the absence of traffic lights or posted stop signs.
Always drive defensively as Abidjan has a high accident rate. A
national law requires that passengers wear seatbelts and that
children under 12 ride in the backseat.
Most roads in Abidjan are paved, though random potholes are
common. Good roads lead to major towns throughout Côte d'Ivoire, and
secondary roads become corrugated with potholes after heavy use.
Other roads are little more than dirt paths, sometimes heavily
rutted and dusty during the dry season. Occasional floods and
washouts on roads outside Abidjan can interrupt traffic for several
days at a time. Heavy-duty vehicles are essential for trips into the
more isolated areas and "off-road." However, a regular automobile
will suffice for normal tourist travel in Côte d'Ivoire.
Local Transportation Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:05 AM
Local taxis are plentiful and metered by law. Fares are moderate,
but double after midnight. Fares from the airport to downtown
Abidjan and major hotels are about 3,000 CFA.
An extensive bus and bush-taxi network operates in and around
Abidjan. Buses are usually crowded and unpleasant, except for the
air-conditioned express buses operating between hotels and the city.
Car rentals can be easily arranged on a daily or weekly basis,
but they are expensive. Minimum daily rates are $55 to $250 per day
(depending on the size and type of the vehicle). If the vehicle is
taken out of the city of Abidjan, a driver is mandatory, and the
price increases. Food and accommodation must also be provided for
Regional Transportation Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:05 AM
Air France serves as the principal international carrier, with
daily flights to Paris.
Air travel to neighboring countries is available on Air Ivoire
and Air Ghana at reasonable prices. These flights are often heavily
booked or overbooked, and subject to numerous delays.
Trains do not currently run within Côte d'Ivoire nor to
Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:06 AM
Local telephone service is generally adequate. All Mission-owned
or -leased houses have phones. The waiting period for new
installations is usually between 4 and 6 weeks.
The Mission pays for initial installation, after which you
receive a monthly bill (with service charge of $10-$15) on your
residence phones. You are charged by the unit for each call placed.
Internet usage will increase your bill considerably. Direct-dial to
most countries is available from home phones but is not recommended
due to constant billing errors. Most personnel have a block placed
on their home telephones that will allow one to receive incoming
long-distance calls but restricts outgoing. A call to the U.S.
currently costs CFA 45 per minute (average exchange rate in April
2004 was 546 CFA to US$1). Mission personnel join the AT&T or MCI
calling card programs, the only American calling card plans
currently available in Côte d'Ivoire. These plans can offer savings
over the local PTT. Post recommends that employees have an AT&T or
MCI calling card for their personal use, as personal calls cannot be
billed to Embassy telephones or charged to official calling cards.
The Embassy has a fax machine for use by Mission personnel. The
rates are the same as for an international, or AT&T/MCI card, call.
Internet Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:06 AM
Internet access is available through local service providers.
Rates vary according to package of services to which one subscribes.
Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:07 AM
International airmail costs 60 cents per half-ounce from the U.S.
to Abidjan and about $.75 per 20 grams from Abidjan to the U.S. The
average transit time is 7-14 days. Packages may be sent via
international mail through the Central Post Office but pickup
requires a great deal of patience and the completion of a number of
forms in French. Non-diplomatic personnel may receive duty-free
packages arriving via international mail during the first 6 months
of their tour; afterwards duty is assessed at very high rates.
International mail should be addressed:
Full Name Embassy of the United States of America 01 B.P. 1712
Abidjan 01 Côte d'Ivoire
Abidjan does not have APO privileges. Mail and packages from the
U.S. arrive via Department of State pouch. Letters may be sent from
post via pouch, but only packages returning merchandise to the
originator and audio & video tapes may be sent to the U.S. Maximum
weight for any packages mailed to you via the pouch is 50 pounds.
The maximum dimensions are 17x18x35 inches and combined length and
girth may not exceed 65 inches. Consult 5 FAM 300 and 5 FAH 10 for
complete mail and pouch guidelines. State Department regulations
state that the Department does not accept any responsibility for
lost or stolen packages, even if they are insured.
Personal mail should be addressed: Full Name 2010 Abidjan Place
Washington, D.C. 20189-2010
U.S. postage stamps are not for sale at post. They are available
from the USPS website (www.stamps.com) and can be charged to your
credit card. Letters sent to and from the U.S. by pouch can take
10-14 days or more to reach their destination. Regular domestic U.S.
postage rates apply to mail for pouch transmittal. The Embassy has
established a limited weekly DHL service for first-class letter mail
to the U.S.
Radio and TV Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:09 AM
Despite the increasing availability of satellite television,
radio is still the most important medium in Côte d'Ivoire.
Government-owned Radio Côte d'Ivoire broadcasts in French and
several national languages on two FM frequencies. The second
station, Frequence II, plans to broadcast outside of Abidjan its mix
of music and talk shows geared to a younger audience. Up to date, it
has not been possible.
Radio Nostalgie, affiliated with a French network of the same
name, broadcasts a 24-hour stereo mix of music on FM in Abidjan,
with regular news headlines in French during the day. It is the most
popular station in Abidjan. Radio France Internationale (RFI), which
until recently was confined to short-wave, now relays its program of
French news and features via a FM transmitter in Abidjan. The
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) transmits on FM in Abidjan a
mix of its London-based African service in French, some locally
produced French language programming and selected world news and
focus on Africa programs in English. Libreville, Gabon-based Africa
Number 1 heretofore transmitted on short-wave now also transmits its
popular French language programming on FM to Abidjan.
Short-wave remains the best vehicle for receiving international
news in English. Most of the major international services, including
the VOA and BBC, are heard clearly in Abidjan. A multiband set is
advised. A 110v radio will require a transformer.
Ivoirian television operates on two channels in Abidjan, one of
which is seen in many interior towns. The program day generally
begins at noon on the main channel, with continuing broadcasts on
the weekends and some weekdays. Both channels operate each evening
until around 01:00. Programming consists mainly of news and special
events, with reruns of old French and American TV programs and
movies (dubbed in French), as well as some local programming and
both foreign and domestic cultural programs. In addition, there are
private subscription television service, Canal Horizon, that
features sports, current movies, and other programming in French 21
hours a day as well as TV5, an international consortium that
broadcasts programs produced in Francophone countries and regions
worldwide. Since 2004 TV5 has added other channels (EuroNews, RTL, a
Lebanese channel, and CNN). The South African satellite television
DSTV (www.dstv.co.za) is also available. It requires a DSTV decoder,
multi-system TV and a small satellite dish (all of which are readily
available on the local market). Subscription is about $50/month.
DSTV has a lot of channels, including movie, news and Discovery-type
channels, but does not have much American programming.
Many Americans at post use their U.S. TV sets with a DVD player
or VCR to watch American DVDs and videotapes. The Community Liaison
Office maintains an informal lending library of videotapes and
maintains a list of DVD/videos which others are willing to lend
(i.e. television series Friends, The Sopranos, etc). Local videos in
both French and (some) English are also available for rent, mostly
in the SECAM and PAL TV formats. To receive local TV broadcasts, as
well as to view the wide range of videos available locally and
within the American community (or sent from home), a multi-system TV
set and DVD/VCR are recommended. Several stores in the Washington,
D.C. area sell such equipment.
DoD personnel receive AFRTS receivers and satellite dishes to
pick up American Armed Forces Network (AFN) television. Department
of State personnel may purchase the AFN decoder (approximately $600)
in the U.S. or from someone in the Embassy community. AFN can be
seen on any regular American TV (no need for multi-system), but
requires a large satellite dish in addition to the decoder. AFN only
has three or six channels (depending on the size of the sattelite
dish) but it is very much like regular American TV (all the big
shows, sports, etc.). Aside from the high set-up cost (decoder and
satellite), AFN service is free, with no subscription or monthly
Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated:
6/21/2004 7:10 AM
Ten daily and a half-dozen principal newspapers are among the
several dozen local French language publications produced in
Abidjan. Focusing primarily on local news, most of them represent
the views of a political party or party faction, although a few are
independent. The dailies draw mainly from the wire services for
their international news stories, mostly from Agence France Presse.
The largest daily, the government controlled Fraternité Matin,
offers the full range of news, sports, commentary, and
human-interest features, plus comic strips. Notre Voie, close to the
FPI, the party of President Laurent Gbagbo, offers similar, though
more limited, coverage. Independent daily Le Jour Plus offers the
most balanced political reportage. A number of specialty newspapers
and magazines cover fashion, sports, entertainment and the arts,
restaurants and what's happening about town.
Several current American and British newspapers and news and
specialty magazines, including the International Herald Tribune, the
international editions of Time and Newsweek, and The Economist are
available in Abidjan from bookstores and street kiosks. All of the
major French newspapers and magazines are also available, as are
other African and some Spanish, German, Italian, and Lebanese
Subscriptions to U.S. magazines and newspapers arrive by pouch
2-3 weeks after their publication date.
Librairie de France, a chain of bookstores, carries a variety of
literature, periodicals, and children's books in French. A small
selection of English language materials are carried as well. The
Community Liaison Office has an informal lending library of books in
Health and Medicine
Medical Facilities Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:12 AM
The U.S. Embassy in Abidjan maintains a Health Unit staffed with
a Foreign Service Medical Provider (a Regional Medical Officer or
Foreign Service Health Practitioner). Office hours are scheduled
Monday through Friday with a medical duty officer on call after
hours and during weekends. The Health Unit is an outpatient primary
care facility with a laboratory.
The Embassy Health Unit has a small pharmacy for treatment of
common acute illness or conditions. If you take chronic medication,
bring enough to cover your tour or arrange with a pharmacy in the
U.S. to provide refills via the pouch. This includes birth control
pills, vitamins, blood pressure medication and thyroid or estrogen
hormones. Local pharmacies are fairly modern but carry chiefly
French brand names.
Local medical facilities are used selectively for specialty
consultation and emergency hospitalization. Elective hospitalization
is not recommended in Abidjan. Anyone with a medical condition
requiring hospitalization or consultation with a specialist not
available in Abidjan will be evacuated to the nearest medevac point
with the required resources. This may be Pretoria, London or the
U.S. The Health Unit recommends that babies be delivered in the U.S.
Dental care, such as cleaning, repairs of dental cavities and
root canal and bridgework can be done in Abidjan. There are also
orthodontists who work in Abidjan. However, it is recommended that
more elaborate dental work be done prior to arrival at post. Medical
travel can be authorized for management of serious dental problems
but is limited in terms of per diem payments and the fact that
follow up trips cannot be authorized.
There are qualified ophthalmologists in Abidjan and lens work is
available but very expensive. It is recommended that you bring an
extra pair of glasses or contacts with you and know the source from
which more can be ordered.
Health and Medicine
Community Health Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:12 AM
Community sanitation and public health programs are inadequate
throughout Côte d'Ivoire and subject to frequent breakdown. Almost
all of the maladies of the developing world are represented here.
Residents are subject to water and food-borne illnesses such as
typhoid, hepatitis, cholera, worms, amoebiasis, giardia and bacteria
dysentery. Malaria is epidemic in Abidjan and throughout West
Africa. Malaria prophylaxis is strongly recommended for all U.S.
mission personnel and their family members. All mission houses are
screened and air-conditioned.
Health and Medicine
Preventive Measures Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:15 AM
Everyone covered under the Department of State's medical program
must have an updated medical clearance prior to assignment to Côte
d'Ivoire. Individuals with limited medical clearance for medical
conditions requiring sophisticated medical follow up should contact
Medical Clearances in the Office of Medical Services or the post
health unit regarding availability of local resources.
Recommended immunizations for children include all the standard
pediatric immunizations of diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio,
measles, mumps, rubella, hemophilus B, hepatitis B and pneumococcal.
Adolescents and adults should have a diphtheria-tetanus booster
within 10 years and have completed the hepatitis A series. Post
specific immunizations include yellow fever, meningitis, typhoid and
rabies pre-exposure. Yellow fever vaccination is mandatory before
traveling to Côte d'Ivoire. Malaria prophylaxis is strongly
recommended. Additionally, clothes that cover the body and insect
repellant for older children and adults are important to decrease
exposure to the malaria carrying mosquitoes.
The Embassy provides and maintains water distillers in each home.
Bottled water is provided in offices. Factory bottled soft drinks
and juices are safe. Milk is sold in sealed containers and is
generally safe. Standard recommendations for preparing fresh fruits,
vegetables, and meats apply here. Washing, soaking and peeling
and/or thoroughly cooking are mandatory to minimize bacterial and
parasitic contamination. A wide variety of foods are available in
local stores as well as a good variety of canned goods and fresh
produce. Meat and fish bought from recommended venders are
Car accidents are the primary causes of severe injury to
foreigners living in Abidjan. Defensive driving and use of seatbelts
is strongly encouraged. Use of motorcycles is strongly discouraged.
Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 6/21/2004
Employment opportunities for spouses are favorable for positions
within the U.S. Mission. Openings generally occur in periodic cycles
for nurses, administrative assistants, community liaison office
coordinators (CLOs). A Family Member Hiring Committee screens and
selects eligible family members who meet necessary job requirement
skills. All agencies are represented on the committee. The Human
Resources Officer (HRO) and CLO maintain a list of eligible family
members desiring work. Eligible family members are urged to notify
CLO or HRO of their interest in employment prior to arrival. The CLO
and HRO coordinate a summer-hire program for eligible family members
16 years of age and older. The International Community School of
Abidjan (ICSA) occasionally has openings for qualified teachers and
Dependent participation in the local economy is limited by
Ivoirian labor laws and the need for fluent French. Work permits are
difficult to obtain, but U.S. companies and international
organizations occasionally offer short-term contracts to persons who
do not have a work permit.
American Embassy - Abidjan
Post City Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:16 AM
Abidjan, with a population of approximately 3 million, is 4.8
kilometers inland from the Gulf of Guinea, but its suburbs stretch
to the sea. Abidjan has often been called the "Paris of West
Africa." As a result of the problems in recent years, the city
itself has deteriorated somewhat, but still retains much of the
beauty derived from its setting on the rim of a lagoon at the edge
of the Atlantic Ocean. The ever-present contrast between traditional
African clothing, markets, and ways of life, and the most modern
public and commercial establishments gives the city a special charm
The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:17 AM
The U.S. Mission in Côte d'Ivoire currently comprises 62
direct-hire American positions distributed among various agencies:
Department of State; Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS);
the Centers for Disease Control (CDC); VOA; and the Departments of
Agriculture, Commerce and Defense. Peace Corps is currently not
operating in Côte d'Ivoire but is expected to return in 2006. Some
offices at post have regional responsibilities, and their officers
travel frequently to neighboring Central and West African countries.
Post anticipates moving into its New Embassy Compound in June
2005, at which time all offices except FBIS and CDC will be
co-located in the new office facility in the Riviera neighborhood.
The current Chancery includes the offices for the Executive,
Political, Economic, Consular, and Management Sections, and the
Defense Attaché's office. The Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) and
Foreign Commercial Service (FCS), along with the Health Unit, are in
the former REDSO building in the Deux Plateau neighborhood. All
sections report through the Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) to the
Ambassador, who has overall responsibility for the operations of all
The Chancery, a six-story structure located in downtown Plateau
at No. 5 Rue Jesse Owens, is convenient to the city's major banking,
commercial, and shopping areas. Nearby are the French Embassy, Post
Office Tower, Ivoirian Supreme Court, and several hotels. The
telephone number is 225-20-21-09-79. Embassy office hours are 8 am
to 5 pm, Monday through Friday. A Duty Officer is on call at all
other times. A Marine Security Guard is on duty at all times. The
General Services Operations are located in a large compound on the
road to the airport, Boulevard Giscard d'Estaing, about 15 minutes
from the Embassy.
The Public Affairs Offices are located in the American Cultural
Center in Cocody, at the corner of the Avenue de l'Entente and
Boulevard de la Rocade. The PAO telephone number is
225-22-44-05-97/225-22-44-07-45. Office hours are 8 am to 5 pm. The
American Cultural Center sponsors a wide range of activities,
including Worldnet broadcasts, American speakers, Fulbright
international visitors exchanges, information activities, and
cultural activities. The library has 4,000 volumes, of which 60% are
in English and 40% are in French. A VOA correspondent is also based
in Abidjan in the Plateau District. The VOA telephone number is
The Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) is staffed by a
bureau chief and one other officer. The office (telephone
225-22-47-10-30) is located in a new custom-built facility in the
State Department personnel are paid through the Central Payroll
Office in Charleston. Other agency personnel are payrolled from
their headquarters pay centers. Marine Guards are paid their cost of
living allowances through the Embassy Financial Management Center
(FMC) and their base pay from the USMC Finance Center in the U.S.
Post personnel are paid by direct deposit to their banks.
Accommodation exchange is available to all U.S. Government
personnel, authorized eligible family members, and to authorized
contract employees. Limited amounts of U.S. dollars are available to
American personnel traveling on official business or leave.
Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:18 AM
If suitable permanent housing is not available on arrival, you
will be lodged in temporary quarters furnished with all basic
The hotel most frequently used is the Hotel Tiama, which is
conveniently located in Plateau within walking distance of the
Embassy. The Hotel Tiama has a restaurant and a pool, and is within
per diem. Other hotels commonly used are the Novotel (in Plateau),
Hotel Ibis (in Plateau and Marcory), and the Sofitel (in Plateau).
Several residential-style hotels throughout Abidjan (i.e.
Residence Edouard, Residence Ohinene, and La Licorne) are frequently
used for those staying for an extended period, as they are more
similar to an apartment rather than a hotel.
Permanent Housing Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:18 AM
All U.S. Government personnel are housed in government-owned or
-leased houses or apartments. Newcomers usually move directly into
temporary or permanent quarters. Housing is assigned by the Mission
Inter-Agency Housing Board (IAHB) on the basis of family size,
position grade, and availability of quarters at the time of your
arrival. Most personnel with children are assigned houses. Single
personnel and couples may be housed in two- or three-bedroom
apartments or houses.
The Ambassador occupies a government-owned residence located in
Cocody. The first floor includes large living and dining rooms,
study, lavatory, kitchen, laundry area, air-conditioned storeroom,
servants' toilet and shower, and guestroom with bath. The second
floor of the residence has four bedrooms and baths, a large family
room with bookshelves, and a roofed terrace. Spacious, attractive
grounds surrounding the Ambassador's residence contain a barbecue
paillotte and swimming pool with dressing rooms, shower, and
toilets. The residence is furnished with all major appliances,
china, crystal, flatware and other silver, kitchen equipment, and
most linens. The house is completely air-conditioned with both split
units; the upstairs and kitchen windows are screened. Both 220v and
110v wall outlets are available in the kitchen and several other
The DCM's home is located in Cocody also. This five-bedroom,
split-level house is air-conditioned with split units and has a
large front yard. All major appliances, kitchen utensils, china,
glassware, flatware, and some linens are furnished.
The Marine Security Guards are currently housed in a villa in
Riviera. They will move to a residence on the New Embassy Compound
upon its completion in 2005.
Most houses, located in Cocody, Deux Plateaux, or Riviera, have
three to five bedrooms, at least two baths, and adequate kitchen,
dining, and living areas. Some have attached domestic quarters. Many
of these houses have terraces or verandas with French doors.
Ground-floor windows are grilled and rooms have split-system
air-conditioners. The Embassy leases apartments in three buildings;
one is located within walking distance of the Chancery, with access
to a pool. The other two buildings contain four apartments each,
occupied exclusively by mission employees, and each has a pool for
use by apartment complex residents. These apartments are located in
Deux Plateaux and are convenient to local shopping facilities. All
apartments have two or three bedrooms, combined living and dining
areas, adequate kitchens, and air-conditioning. They are normally
occupied by single employees or married personnel without children.
Housing is comfortable; all living and occupied sleeping areas are
air-conditioned. All quarters are currently provided with 24-hour
daily guard service.
Furnishings Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:19 AM
The Mission supplies all basic furniture and appliances to
personnel assigned to post. Newcomers' housing will be furnished
upon their arrival. As a rule, single employees and couples are
provided furnishings for living room, dining room, and one or two
bedrooms and/or a study or den, depending on the number of bedrooms
in the house. Families are provided the same plus sufficient bedroom
furniture for each occupied bedroom. The Embassy tailor shop will
make and hang draperies.
Basic furnishings include: washer and dryer, refrigerator,
freezer, gas stove, water distiller, fire extinguisher, four
transformers, kitchen cabinets, medicine cabinets with mirror, towel
racks, drapery rods, living and dining room rugs, table and floor
lamps, lighting fixtures, a full living room set, a dining room set
with seating for six or eight, complete bedroom suites including one
queen-size and twin beds, mattresses and boxsprings,
air-conditioners, water heaters, a vacuum cleaner, and outdoor
Lawnmowers are available to employees with houses. Patio
furniture and garden supplies are available in limited quantities.
Some employees choose to purchase wicker or rattan furniture at post
and have it covered at their own expense in one of the colorful
local fabrics. Bring the following items to post: Bed linens (queen
plus twins), lightweight blankets and bedspreads, pillows and
cushions, towels, iron (preferably 220v) and ironing board, shower
curtains and rings, china, glassware, flatware, table linens,
kitchen utensils, small kitchen appliances, pots and pans,
video-tape recorder (VHS) and multi-system TV (220v), folding beach
chairs, ice chests/coolers, extension cords, and additional
Voltage regulators and surge protectors are recommended as
protection from power surges for stereo, TV, and computer equipment.
A supply of essential household items, such as some pots and pans,
lightweight glasses and plastic dishes, flatware, other kitchen
utensils, clothes hangers, and towels and linens, should be included
in your airfreight. Surface shipments may take 2-4 months to arrive
and clear customs. A Welcome Kit of essential household items is
available until airfreight shipments arrive. Bring items specially
required by small children in accompanied baggage or send them
airfreight. A small stock of food, for which the sponsor should be
reimbursed, is provided for the first few days after arrival.
Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:20 AM
Most kitchens are equipped with American stoves that cook with
bottled gas. Households acquire bottled gas at local Texaco service
stations using coupons obtained at the FMC cashier. Tap water is not
potable and must be sterilized. Effective water distillers are
provided by the Mission to each residence.
All types of appliances, mainly European and Japanese, are sold
locally, but they are expensive. Small appliances may also be
ordered from the U.S. and shipped to post by pouch.
The city power system is 220v/380v, 3-phase, 50Hz utilization
voltage, with 220v available at outlets and lamp sockets. All U.S.
Government-owned and -leased housing is equipped with a 25KVA
generator. Various portions of the power system are subject to
noticeable fluctuations. A voltage regulator will help to assure the
reliable operation of sensitive electronic equipment and prolong its
life. Most wall outlets are the French type with two round prongs.
Inexpensive converter plugs are available locally for U.S. type
plugs. Some government-owned houses have combination outlets that
also accept U.S.-type parallel-blade 120v plugs. Most local
incandescent lighting fixtures use the French-type bayonet-based
bulbs. Embassy-supplied table lamps take U.S. screw-type bulbs. Both
types of bulbs are sold in Abidjan in the major shopping outlets.
Appliances rated for 120v, 60Hz normally operate well with a
step-down transformer. Electric 50Hz clocks tend to run slightly
fast while 60Hz clocks run very slow. Battery operated clocks are
recommended. Certain 110v electronic appliances such as microwave
ovens may require extensive modification to be used safely here;
check with your U.S. dealer before attempting to bring them.
Food Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:20 AM
There is a wide variety of food available in the plentiful local
markets and supermarkets of Abidjan. The bakeries offer a delicious
variety of breads and pastries. Tropical fruits and locally grown
vegetables are plentiful and priced reasonably. The supermarkets
carry a complete selection of imported European fresh fruit and
vegetables at much higher prices. The choice of all types of food
and household items in supermarkets is excellent and shortages are
rare. Both local and imported meat is available; meat is sold in
continental cuts and local meat should be well cooked for health
reasons. Local poultry, fresh fish, and shellfish are plentiful and
A limited variety of frozen foods are available. Most dairy
products are imported and sterilized, pasteurized; long-life milk is
also sold. Local and imported butter and cheese are excellent. Plain
and flavored yogurts are good. All dairy products have an expiration
Beverages available include bottled soft drinks, various fruit
juices, European and South American imported wine - pretty much
anything you desire. Ivoirian cocoa and chocolate are superb; the
local coffee (Robusta) is quite distinctive. The Arabica coffee is
imported and can be quite costly. Most supermarkets sell several
It is economically worthwhile to include diapers, paper towels,
toilet paper, plastic and foil wraps, garbage bags, laundry soap,
and party supplies in bulk in your surface shipment if you have the
There is a snack bar located at the Chancery, where hamburgers,
hotdogs, french fries, pizza, and American-style sandwiches are
served daily. Hours: 08:00 - 15:30 Monday thru Friday.
Clothing Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:22 AM
Abidjan's year-round climate resembles that of Washington, D.C.
in the summer months. The weather can be somewhat cooler during the
"winter" months and long-sleeved clothing is sometimes comfortable.
Bring some warm clothing for trips that you may make to colder
climates. Umbrellas and raincoats are needed during the rainy
season. Swimming is a year-round activity, so bring swimsuits and
beach attire/accessories for each family member.
Men Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:21 AM
Men whose work entails contact with the host government and the
public normally wear lightweight suits to the office. Men whose
positions are less representational wear short- or long-sleeved
shirts, with or without ties, and slacks to the office.
Dark business suits are often worn for representational evening
occasions. Acceptable formal dress code is black or white dinner
jacket. Tuxedos are preferred but not required for the Marine Ball.
Bring a good supply of shirts, underwear, socks, and shoes to post,
as they wear out rapidly and are expensive locally. A good supply of
sports clothes and casual clothing also is recommended.
For casual evening functions, most men wear American-style sports
shirts or African-style shirts, which can be purchased locally at
reasonable prices. Most tailors do a reasonable job making sports
shirts and slacks. French and Italian ready-made clothing is
available at high prices, as are men's shoes.
Women Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:22 AM
Women whose work entails contact with the host government and the
public normally wear lightweight suits or tailored dresses to the
office. However, most women wear summer dresses or blouses and skirt
combinations supplemented by a light cardigan in air-conditioned
offices and public buildings.
All women will desire a formal gown for the annual Marine Corps
Ball, along with a variety of informal eveningwear for dinners
within the diplomatic community.
In Abidjan's hot and humid climate, wrinkle-resistant fabrics
that breathe are desirable. Most women do not wear stockings on a
daily basis, but bring some to post if you desire as they are not
easily found locally. Sandals, comfortable walking shoes, and sports
shoes are all useful. Be sure to bring an ample supply of
The latest styles from Paris often are available at very high
prices in local boutiques. Contemporary African fashions are popular
with both Ivoirian and non-Ivoirian women. Local batiks, tie-dyes,
and wax prints, sometimes enhanced with elaborate embroidery, are
made up into attractive short and long dresses, skirts, and pants
outfits. Prices range from moderate to expensive, but constitute
special bargains when made by highly qualified tailors. Local
seamstresses and tailors will sew outfits ranging from the very
simple to the very complex. Tailors have varying degrees of
expertise, but most are able to copy a design from a picture alone.
Children Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:23 AM
Children need a good supply of washable synthetic or cotton
clothing. Replacement clothes can be purchased on-line. Children's
clothing on the local market is extremely costly, except for cotton
play dresses and shorts outfits available in the African markets.
Bring a good supply of underwear, sneakers, sandals, and footwear
for the beach or pool. Athletic shoes, especially American name
brands, are hard to find and very expensive.
Uniforms are not worn at the International Community School of
Abidjan (ICSA). Girls wear everything from dresses to shorts and
jeans. Sandals and sneakers are the preferred footwear, although
sneakers or athletic shoes are required for P.E. Boys wear jeans,
slacks, and shorts with jerseys; sneakers and sandals are most
commonly worn. Children attending private schools are obliged to
wear uniforms, which are purchased locally.
Supplies and Services
Supplies Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:23 AM
A good choice of toiletries, cosmetics, and feminine personal
supplies is available locally at significantly higher prices than in
the U.S. Include the following in your HHE shipment: bathroom
accessories; closet fittings (e.g., hangers, garment bags, shoe
trees, hooks); favorite brands of cosmetics and toiletries;
wastebaskets; drapery and picture hooks for concrete walls; sewing
kits and notions; ashtrays; short-wave radio; stereo equipment;
Christmas decorations; stationery and craft supplies; party favors
and decorations; gift wrapping, ribbon, and greeting cards; candles
(all sizes); trays, vases, and knickknacks; games; books; pictures;
video equipment; computer supplies. Include a supply of gifts for
your own children and for birthday parties, and gift items, as they
are very expensive.
Pharmacies carry a complete line of modern drugs, but American
brands are usually not available. Bring special prescriptions to
post. Tobacco products can be obtained locally.
Supplies and Services
Basic Services Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:25 AM
Local shops are generally open Monday through Saturday from 8
a.m. to noon and 3 p.m. until 6 p.m.; on Sundays the majority of
shops are closed.
Minor shoe repairs can be done adequately. Dry-cleaning prices
are comparable to that of Washington, D.C. Beauty and barbershops
offer a complete line of services, varying in all price ranges.
Estheticians, masseurs, and sauna baths are available at health and
exercise clubs. Massage, pedicure and similar services are plentiful
in beauty parlors in Abidjan, and can also be arranged to come to
Radio, video, and TV shops service European and Japanese models
successfully and American models with varying success. A good
selection of CDs and DVDs are available at somewhat higher than U.S.
prices; cheap cassettes are usually pirate editions of poor quality.
Several companies, including Westinghouse, Singer, Frigidaire, and
General Electric, have local representatives who stock a limited
supply of spare parts for small appliances. Appliance repair
technicians familiar with American equipment are scarce. Local
jewelers can repair most clocks and watches. Several local printers
do moderate quality work, but prices are high. Catering service is
available from several hotels, restaurants, and bakeries.
Pet shops and supermarkets carry a good variety of basic pet
supplies, though these are expensive. Several veterinarians have
clinics in Abidjan which offers shots and minor treatment for pets.
Supplies and Services
Domestic Help Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:26 AM
Americans in Abidjan find domestic workers to be a very pleasant
and affordable aspect of life in Abidjan. Domestics usually come
from other West African countries. Many women who do domestic work
are also employed as nannies.
In most households, an experienced domestic who does all types of
housework, laundry, and simple cooking is sufficient.
If additional help is needed, less-skilled household help and
full-fledged cooks are available. A qualified cook usually will do
marketing and kitchen chores, but may not do housework. Small
families sometimes share the services of one employee who does
general housework and laundry on a part-time basis. It is customary
to pass to new employees domestics who have previously worked for
U.S. Government employees and have proven their trustworthiness and
Many domestics do not live in because only a few houses have
quarters suitable for household employees. Hours and minimum wages
are fixed by law.
Domestics work a maximum of ten hours daily with one full day or
two half days off each week, and one month's paid holiday per year.
On local holidays domestics receive full pay and are not required to
work. When employment is terminated, domestics are entitled to
notice or notice payment, payment for any unused leave, termination
pay, and a certificate of previous employment. Monthly wages range
from about 50,000 CFA for a novice cook to 100,000 CFA for an
experienced cook. In addition, employers must pay social security
contributions amounting to 15.75% of salary (of this total, the
employer contributes 12.55% and the employee contributes 3.2%), as
well as a transportation allowance. If uniforms are needed, they are
provided at the employer's expense. Most domestics speak French, and
some can read French. A few speak English. All domestics must be
trained to individual preferences and supervised carefully to assure
Religious Activities Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:26 AM
Regularly scheduled Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim
worship services and activities are conducted in French throughout
the Abidjan area. Affiliated schools, activities, and services are
readily available to the French speaker. Kosher and hallal meat can
sometimes be obtained locally.
English-speaking Christian congregations include: 1. The
International Fellowship of Christians, an interdenominational,
evangelical congregation meeting in Deux Plateaux for two Sunday
worship services, classes for children and adults, and a variety of
study groups and other activities during the week; 2) the Protestant
Church of the Plateau, an interdenominational, liturgical
congregation, holding its Sunday worship service, classes and
activities in a Methodist church near the Embassy; and 3) Sainte
Cecile, a Roman Catholic church in Deux Plateaux holding mass,
confessions, and religious education classes for children on
At Post Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:29 AM The International
Community School of Abidjan (ICSA), founded in 1972, is the only
English-language school in Abidjan. It is an independent,
coeducational day school, offering an American educational program
from kindergarten through grade 12. A solid academic program is
offered. The school is accredited from kindergarten through grade 12
by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, and the
Upper School is also accredited by the European Council of
International Schools (ECIS). The Upper School presents a
developmental program with the express purpose of preparing students
for entry into U.S. colleges and universities. French, the official
language of Côte d'Ivoire, is required at all grade levels. English
as a Second Language (ESL) is required of non-English speakers until
they reach a certain level of proficiency. Even after they are
mainstreamed, ESL students receive continuing support. The school is
not equipped to handle children with learning disabilities, physical
handicaps, or emotional or behavioral problems. Qualified high
school students may enroll in advance placement courses in English,
French, European History, American History, Computer Science,
Biology, and Calculus. A new school was constructed in 1990-91 in
the residential section of Riviera III, with new sports facilities,
including a basketball/volleyball court, track, soccer field,
softball field, and shower facility.
The school is sponsored by the U.S. Government and governed by a
nine-member Board of Directors, two of whom are appointed by the
U.S. Ambassador. Membership in the Association, the school's
official parent body, which oversees the whole school, is
automatically conferred on the parents or guardians of children
enrolled in the school.
In the 2003-2004 school year, there are 9 full-time and 3
part-time faculty staff members, including 8 Americans, 2
host-country nationals, and 2 third-country nationals. The Director
is contracted from the United States. Enrollment in 2003-2004 was 65
students. Of the total, 27 were U.S. citizens, 9 were host-country
nationals and 29 were children of third-country nationals. Of the
U.S. enrollment 2 were dependents of U.S. government employees and
25 were dependents of other private U.S. citizens. The school
receives regular support and assistance from the Office of Overseas
Schools in the Department of State.
The school sponsors a wide variety of extracurricular activities:
interscholastic soccer, basketball, volleyball, swimming for boys
and girls, intramural sports, yearbook, drama club, band, Girl
Scouts & Brownies, Boy Scouts & Cub Scouts, etc. Other
extracurricular activities are offered but may change from year to
year based upon the availability of instructors. There is also a
strong community service program.
Annual tuition fees are set in dollars. Fees for the 2003-2004
school year were as follows: kindergarten - $10,694; grades 1
through 5 - $10,694; grades 6 through 8 - $10,694 and grades 9
through 12 - $10,694. There is a one-time capital development fee of
$5,000 per family. The annual school registration fee is $564 per
child. The present education allowance for children at post is
sufficient to cover the costs at the International Community School
of Abidjan or costs incurred at local schools for tuition,
registration, and other required school fees.
Bus transportation is available for dependent children in grades
kindergarten through grade 12 of official U.S. personnel. Many
families arrange car pools for transporting children to and from
school. School uniforms are not required. Students dress casually,
in consideration of the tropical climate.
School hours are 07:30 to 14:30, Monday through Friday. The
school year begins in late August and ends in mid-June. Students
have a 2-week Christmas vacation and one week at Easter; some U.S.
national and all local holidays are observed by the school. ICSA
sponsors a 5-week summer program during the months of July and
August, depending on demand.
Further information about the school can be obtained by
contacting the CLO (firstname.lastname@example.org) or ICSA directly:
International Community School of Abidjan DOS/Management Officer
2010 Abidjan Place Washington, D.C. 20521-2010 Tel: 225-22-47-11-52
Fax: 225-22-47-19-96 E-mail: email@example.com Website:
Local public and private schools follow French methods of
instruction and curriculum, and make no provision for introductory
language instruction for non-French-speaking children. Classes in
the French system are divided as follows:
(1) "maternelle" or nursery school, ages 3 and 4.
(2) "jardin d'enfants" or kindergarten, ages 5 and 6.
(3) "ecole primaire" (1eme through 7eme), which corresponds to
American grades 1 through 5. At the end of the 7eme, all children
must pass a national exam to gain admittance to the "Lycee."
(4) ecole secondaire (lycee or college) which corresponds to
grades 6 through 12 in American schools. At the end of the last year
(grade 13), exams are taken for the baccalaureate.
Public schools no longer enroll non-Ivoirian students who did not
enter the school system in the first grade. Some very good private
primary schools admit non-French-speaking children but generally
only in the early elementary grades. Children must have sufficient
French fluency to pass exams and survive in the secondary grades. In
all cases, enrollment in the better local schools is competitive and
should be accomplished as early in the spring as possible for the
following school year. Contact the CLO for information and guidance
on enrolling children in local schools.
The local school year runs from October to mid-July and is
divided into trimesters ending in December, March, and June.
Christmas and Easter vacations are at least one week each. Classes
meet 5 days a week, Monday through Friday, in the upper grades; in
the primary grades students have Wednesday off. Hours vary somewhat
in different schools, but morning classes usually run from 07:00 to
12:00 and from 14:30 to 17:00.
Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:30 AM
Private instruction is available for French, musical instruments,
martial arts, horseback riding, tennis, and swimming. Additional
academic tutoring for school children can also be obtained.
Recreation and Social Life
Sports Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:31 AM
Sports are an integral part of recreational life in the Côte
d'Ivoire. For Ivoirians, soccer is the most popular sport, followed
by basketball and boxing. You can pursue a wide variety of sports
activities in Abidjan: aerobics, pool swimming, fishing, bowling,
tennis, horseback riding, pool and billiards, golf, volleyball,
basketball, softball, soccer, yoga and martial arts. Softball is
often played on the weekend at the International school. Many of the
players participate in U.S. Embassy-sponsored West African
competitions. Volleyball is often organized at the residences of
Embassy employees. Sports equipment is available on the local market
but the cost is high, so bring a good supply to post.
Salt and freshwater pools at major hotels in and around Abidjan
are open to the public on a reasonable daily fee basis; a few offer
pool memberships. Use of tennis courts can be arranged at local
clubs and hotels, and memberships and instruction are available. An
excellent 18-hole golf course is located at the Golf Club in the
Riviera section of Abidjan. Golfers can play there by paying a
greens fee or an individual club membership. There is also a 9-hole
public course with reasonable fees.
The beaches near Abidjan tend to be dangerous, with extremely
treacherous surf. Riptides and heavy undertow make ocean swimming
dangerous. The Health Unit recommends no swimming in these waters.
You must use extreme caution in supervising young children at the
beach. Despite these drawbacks, the beach is a close, pleasant
weekend escape. There are a number of small hotel/restaurants in
Grand Bassam and Assinie where you can spend the day for the cost of
Recreation and Social Life
Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:32 AM
Abidjan is an attractive city, laced with lagoons and close to
the ocean, with many hills and lush tropical flora. In and around
Abidjan, you can visit the beautiful St. Paul's Cathedral, perched
on a hill overlooking the city; the zoo, modest but still enjoyable
for children; the Parc du Banco, a virgin rain forest; and the large
open-air markets in Cocody, Treichville, and other suburbs. A lagoon
boat tour offers an impressive view of Abidjan's skyline. The CLO
organizes trips to villages, shopping trips, day trips to
Yamoussoukro, and weekend get-aways.
Although travel within Côte d'Ivoire is restricted to certain
areas, there are several options for pleasant trips outside of
Abidjan. Most people travel by car, as the roads are generally good
to major towns throughout Côte d'Ivoire. Hotels are adequate and
prices outside of Abidjan are reasonable. Food is usually good, even
in small towns. Possibilities include:
Assinie and Assouinde: These small villages lie between the
lagoon and the sea, about 50 miles from Abidjan by car. Several
large resorts hotel complexes are located along the beautiful
Bingerville: The former capital of the Côte d'Ivoire is 11 miles
from Abidjan. It is surrounded by coffee and cocoa plantations and
enjoys a picturesque setting on a hill overlooking the sweep of the
lagoon. It has a large botanical garden and a school of African art
where artisans can be seen at work. A national boy's orphanage is
now housed in what was formerly the colonial governor's mansion.
Grand Bassam: Located on the seacoast about 20 miles east of
Abidjan, Bassam is a favorite weekend escape because of its close
proximity to Abidjan, pleasant beaches and hotels, and its
interesting shopping. There is a cooperative of craftsmen in the
center of town selling masks, brass work, wood carvings, and batik
work. A mile-long strip of shops located outside the town of Bassam
sells African carvings, carved chests, leather goods, furniture,
jewelry, and tiedye and wax print fabric. All sorts of African art
and paraphernalia can be found in this central area.
Grand Lahou: A lagoon town three miles to the west. It offers
picturesque old buildings, a rustic hotel-restaurant, and both ocean
and lagoon swimming. You will experience a nice drive through the
rubber and palm oil plantations.
Jacqueville: About 2 hours from Abidjan with a car, ferry ride
included, this lagoon town on the beach has a nice hotel-restaurant.
Sassandra: Located on the seacoast a 3-hour drive from Abidjan,
Sassandra is a small fishing village with an active port and scenic
river. There are several hotels and campsites for those who come to
enjoy the wonderful beaches.
Yamoussoukro: The official capital of Côte d'Ivoire. Several
splendid buildings can be visited, notably the Basilica, known as
the largest cathderal in Christiandom. It was built by the former
President, Felix Houphouët-Boigny, as his dedication to the city,
and is considered a "must-see" attraction. Yamoussoukro has a large
hotel, The President, which is normally occupied by tourists. The
CLO sponsors trips several times a year to this site. In an
attractive hilly region nearby is the Kossou Dam, the source of
electrical power for Abidjan.
Recreation and Social Life
Entertainment Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:33 AM
Several modern air-conditioned theaters show European and
American films in French. Children's matinees are frequently shown
during holiday periods.
African theatrical and folklore presentations are given
periodically at various theaters in Abidjan. In particular, the
Ki-Yi Village is a restaurant/theater with dancers including street
kids performing all types of African dances and songs. Most
traditional rites are limited to family and village circles, but
folk dancing is featured entertainment at several local hotels.
A variety of restaurants offer African, Vietnamese, French,
Lebanese, Chinese, Korean, Italian, Mexican, Indian, Russian, and
other cuisines. Restaurants range from moderately expensive to very
expensive, but fixed price menus are available on certain evenings
at several hotels and restaurants.
There are many options for nightlife - including American-style
bars, discotheques and nightclubs throughout Abidjan. They typically
get going late (after 10 pm ). The cost of drinks at many discos and
nightclubs is quite expensive. There are several casinos in Abidjan
(Café de Rome and Hotel Ivoire).
Art exhibits by European and African artists are held frequently
in various hotels and small galleries.
Photographers will find many worthwhile subjects here. Many local
people might be pleased to have their pictures taken, but it is best
to ask first and be prepared to pay for the favor. Most types of
film are available locally, but the price is high. Processing is
adequate, but most Americans send film to the U.S. for developing.
Shopping at the Treichville, Adjame, Plateau, and Cocody markets
can be a cultural leisure-time activity. The animated bargaining
that goes into making a good purchase is something of an art form in
itself. Traders are very appreciative of people who drive hard
bargains; everyone comes away from such a negotiation with a good
Recreation and Social Life
Among Americans Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:34 AM Dinners,
cocktails, and barbecues at the beach are the most common forms of
entertainment. The CLO is active in planning community activities.
Events are frequently held on weekends at the Marine House.
Recreation and Social Life
International Contacts Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:34 AM A good
knowledge of French is essential for developing contacts among
Ivoirians and Europeans.
The International Women's Association of Côte d'Ivoire, whose
purpose is three-fold: 1. Assist local population, 2. Allow members
to discover Côte d'Ivoire, 3. Offer a wide range of social and
The American Chamber of Commerce meets monthly and draws its
membership from representatives of American businesses operating in
The Contact Group, an English-speaking club, meets once a month
and provides an excellent opportunity to get to know other ladies
living in Abidjan.
The "Hash House Harriers" are a group of motivated individuals
who meet one weekend a month and go on excursion runs/walks within
and sometimes outside of Abidjan.
Nature of Functions Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:34 AM
Senior Mission officers are invited to receptions, exhibitions,
cocktails, luncheons, dinners, and other events sponsored by the
host government and other diplomatic missions. Representational
activities among junior officers tend to be with counterparts in the
diplomatic community, personnel in host-government ministries with
whom they have contact, and members of the community.
Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:35 AM
All newly arrived Mission officers and staff members are
presented to the Ambassador and DCM shortly after arrival. No other
formal calls on other Mission officers are expected. Calls on
counterparts in other embassies and with host government officials
can be discussed after arrival at post.
Circular notes are sent to announce arrivals and departures. A
supply of business cards and informals is useful. Bring more
business cards than you think you'll need, since Ivoirians who can't
afford them will want to write their name and phone number on the
back of yours. Invitations can be printed, but engraving is not done
Special Information Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:36 AM
Importance of French. To profit fully from the varied
opportunities in Abidjan, assigned personnel should learn as much
French as possible before arrival and continue their studies after
arrival, if they are not already fluent. Outside the American
community little English is spoken; therefore, knowledge of French
is essential for shopping, sightseeing, and generally enjoying life.
The post French language program provides instruction for
direct-hire personnel, and to family members and contractors on a
Department of Defense Personnel. Unless specifically instructed
otherwise, military personnel should arrive wearing civilian
clothing. Personnel of the Defense Attaché Office (DAO) usually wear
civilian dress on duty, except for certain official calls and
ceremonies. For advice on which uniforms and civilian clothing to
bring to post, contact the Defense Attaché's Office by telephone:
225-20-21-09-79 extension 6698/6574; fax: 225-20-22-80-5; or mail:
Defense Attaché Office, U.S. Embassy Abidjan, Washington, D.C.
Cost of Living. Most personnel will discover that the general
price level in Abidjan is expensive (similar to prices in
Post Orientation Program. Post policy is to assign both an office
sponsor, as well as a community sponsor, to each arriving employee
and their family. They are asked to help the new arrivals settle
into life in Abidjan and at post. Within a day or two of arrival,
your office sponsor will escort you to the Human Resources Office
for a briefing on the required in-processing procedures. You will
have appointments with the Ambassador, DCM, Management Counselor,
and various other Embassy sections. The Regional Security Office
(RSO) requires that each new family receive a security briefing.
This is a necessity in order to receive your official mission badge.
An orientation program is coordinated by the CLO to introduce the
newcomer and dependent family members over the age of 18 to post.
All agencies and offices are included in the program. They give a
brief description of the services they provide. The Health Unit's
Nurse Practitioner will talk to new families about precautions to
take in safeguarding your family's health while in Côte d'Ivoire.
The CLO will brief you on dependent employment, school, shopping,
activities and will assist you in settling in and meeting members of
Notes For Travelers
Getting to the Post Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:38 AM
Most employees assigned to Abidjan come to post via Europe.
Routings through Paris, Brussels, and Dakar are possible. An
overnight rest stop is permitted when coming from the U.S.
When assigned to post, write both the head of agency at post and
the management officer regarding date and time of arrival, air
carrier, and number of accompanying eligible family members, so that
arrangements can be made for your arrival. It is a good idea to
follow up with your personnel technician to ensure that a cable with
your arrival information is also sent.
New Mission personnel are met at the airport by an Embassy
expeditor and their assigned office sponsor and/or section head at
the passport control point. If you arrive at the airport
unannounced, call Post One at 225-20-21-09-79 ext. 2220 or take a
taxi to the Chancery to arrange further accommodations. The metered
taxi ride, barring massive traffic jams, currently costs at least
3,000 CFA, or at night rates, 6,000 CFA (midnight to 6 am).
Bring along personal items needed in the first weeks at post,
since airfreight may take several weeks to arrive. Also bring at
least six passport-sized photographs for each family member, since
these are needed to obtain visas, driver's licenses, and identity
documents. If you have regional responsibilities, a larger supply of
passport-sized photos will be helpful for the many visa applications
related to your travel.
Shipments of household effects (HHE) and unaccompanied air
baggage (UAB) should be addressed as follows:
American Ambassador (Initials of Employee) American Embassy
Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire
HHE and personally owned vehicle (POV) routing is either to
Abidjan Port direct, or via Antwerp, American Consulate General
ELSO, Nooderlaan 147, Bus 12A (Atlantic House), 2030 Antwerp,
Belgium. UAB routing is to Abidjan Airport direct or from the U.S.
via Europe. Do NOT use Egypt Airlines and do not route shipments via
It usually takes 5-6 weeks for HHE picked up in the U.S. to be
shipped to Abidjan. It may then take 4-6 weeks for HHE to be
delivered to employee, once the appropriate shipping and personnel
documents are received by the embassy shipping section for
processing customs clearance. All crates should be containerized to
avoid possible pilferage and damage.
Airfreight from the U.S. usually takes 2-3 weeks to arrive at
post, but shipments have occasionally taken up to 2 months. Some
shipments have been temporarily lost due to misrouting or offloading
at points other than the ultimate destination.
For information on automobiles, see Transportation-Automobiles.
Customs, Duties, and Passage
Customs and Duties Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:38 AM
Côte d'Ivoire regulations specify that only employees with
diplomatic ties have unlimited free entry privileges throughout
their stay in the country. All other employees can import household
and personal effects duty free only during the first 6 months after
arrival at post. To facilitate clearance of shipments through
customs, employees are advised to cable the following information
prior to the arrival of shipments: air-waybill number, ocean bill of
lading number, carrier, and ETA if known. The original bill of
lading should be forwarded as soon as possible via DHL. These
documents are required to request duty-free entry. Customs clearance
procedures take about 4-6 weeks and cannot begin until the documents
Customs, Duties, and Passage
Passage Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:39 AM
Travelers to Côte d'Ivoire on diplomatic passports planning to
reside there must present a valid Ivoirian visa to enter the
country. If Côte d'Ivoire is not represented in the country of
application, a French Consulate can usually issue an entry visa.
American travelers who will stay in Côte d'Ivoire less than ninety
days are currently admitted without a visa. The Embassy will obtain
multiple entry visas for employees after arrival if the initial visa
is valid only for a single entry.
Vaccination against yellow fever is required to enter Côte
d'Ivoire. Ivoirian officials generally verify that appropriate
inoculations have been obtained before issuing the initial entry
visa. No rules cover the entry of cameras, perfume, tobacco, and
liquor in accompanying baggage, but only reasonable amounts will be
passed without question.
Travel within Côte d'Ivoire is unrestricted. However, the
Ivoirian Foreign Ministry requests notification whenever official
travel of officers on the diplomatic list is contemplated upcountry.
Travel to neighboring West African countries invariably requires a
Customs, Duties, and Passage
Pets Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:39 AM
No quarantine or restriction on the importation of pets exists,
but a veterinarian's certificate of rabies vaccination dated within
1 year of arrival and certificate of good health issued within 48
hours of their arrival in Abidjan should accompany the pet.
Do not schedule the arrival of unaccompanied pets on weekends,
holidays, or after 7 pm, as the customs and transit agencies close
at 8 pm. Pets arriving after normal working hours remain in the
customs cargo shed until the next workday (the arrival of
unaccompanied pets could be scheduled provided the shipping office
could be notified 3-5 days before).
Employees should accompany pets under 6 months old, rather than
send them as unaccompanied air cargo. A $20-$30 airway bill charge
plus a $120-$130 transit company charge is levied on all pets
entering Côte d'Ivoire as unaccompanied air cargo. To avoid a hefty
accompanied baggage charge levied on a per kilo basis for the pet at
the Paris Airport, employees should not break their journey in Paris
but should travel straight through from the U.S. departure point
(via Paris) to Abidjan.
Côte d'Ivoire requires the payment of a 44.28% customs fee, and a
18% value added tax (VAT) on all pets under 6 months old. Taxes are
determined by the Côte d'Ivoire Government, based on the value of
the pet, or on the bill of sale for the animal. The customs fee may
be waived for diplomatic personnel, but the VAT must be paid by both
diplomatic and non-diplomatic personnel.
Firearms and Ammunition Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:40 AM
Ivoirian regulations on the importation of firearms and
ammunition are undergoing revision with no end in sight. Indications
are that one would be allowed to import firearms and ammunition, but
the paperwork could outweigh any benefits. Ranges and hunting clubs
are virtually non-existent.
Personnel who plan to bring firearms or ammunition into Côte
d'Ivoire should first obtain a copy of Post's Firearms Policy.
Personnel MAY NOT ship/bring firearms and/or ammunition into the
country without first obtaining written Chief of Mission
concurrence. Requests should be directed through the Regional
Security Officer (RSO) at least 90 days prior to their scheduled
arrival at post. Requests must include justification as to why they
wish to possess a firearm at post, as well as where/how the firearm
will be stored/secured. Included in the letter of request, personnel
must certify that applicable U.S. laws regarding possession,
shipment, or transporting of firearms do NOT prohibit them.
Personnel must also include descriptive firearm identification
information, such as make, model, and serial number of each weapon.
Personnel will need to provide the RSO with documentation from a
recognized and accredited training institution certifying their
competence in handling firearms. This certification should indicate
that the employee has successfully completed a firearms safety
course and qualified on a firearms qualifications course. After
obtaining Chief of Mission's signed authorization, the employee,
upon arrival at post, will submit a request for a firearms permit
through the Embassy to the Ministry of Security with the following
4 x ID photographs Request form (via Diplomatic Note)
Identification Form issued from the Minister of Security Photocopy
of the Diplomatic Card Photocopy of the first three pages of
diplomatic passport Photocopy of the accreditation letter
It is the responsibility of the employee to provide the above
information in a timely manner. The employee will be briefed by the
RSO on safety guidelines for firearms and will be required to sign
an "Employee Certification" form, which will be kept on file in the
Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated:
6/21/2004 7:40 AM
Côte d'Ivoire is part of the franc zone. The CFA franc, the
official currency of Côte d'Ivoire, is the currency of the
Communaute Financiere Africaine, a financial grouping of the
Francophone African countries. The average exchange rate in April
2004 was 546 CFA to US $1.
The metric system is used for all weights and measures.
Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property Last Updated: 6/21/2004
Restrictions. All persons employing domestic help are expected to
register themselves as employers and make quarterly social security
payments for their household help. American employees are not
subject to local taxation, except for indirect taxes on imported
items and restaurant meals. For information on automobiles, see the
section on Transportation-Automobiles. Permission to sell personal
property is granted only toward the end of an employee's tour. Sales
are permitted first to the Mission's American personnel, next to
members of the diplomatic community entitled to free entry, and
third to others after regularization of duties and taxes. The
Management Counselor should be consulted in advance on all sale
Facilities. Establish a checking account in the U.S. before
coming to post in order to facilitate paying U.S. dollar accounts.
U.S. dollars are sometimes available. The Embassy's cashier will
convert U.S. Treasury checks and personal dollar checks drawn on
U.S. banks into CFA francs. The cashier's window is open every
workday from 09:00-12:15 and 13:45-15:00. Third party checks are not
At time of departure from post, excess CFA francs can be
converted to U.S. dollars and /transferred electronically to
members' stateside bank, subject to compliance with personal
property disposal regulations.
Recommended Reading Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:43 AM
These titles are provided as a general indication of the material
published on this country. The Department of State does not endorse
General Africa South of the Sahara. London: Europa Publications
Ltd., published annually. See country survey on Côte d'Ivoire and
also sections on background to the continent and regional
Berthelemy, Jean-Claude and Francois Bourguignon. Growth and
Crisis in Côte d'Ivoire (World Bank Comparative Macroeconomic
Studies). World Bank Press, 1996.
Boahen, Adu, with Ajayi, Jacob F. Ade and Tidy, Michael. Topics
in West African History. White Plains, NY: Longman, 1986.
Campbell, W. Joseph. The Emergent Independent Press in Benin and
Côte d'Ivoire: From Voice of the State to Advocate of Democracy.
Praeger Publishing, 1998.
Chipman, John. French Power in Africa. Cambridge, MA: Basil
Clark, John F. and David E. Gardiner, editors. Political Reform
in Francophone Africa. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1997.
Clarke, Peter B. West Africa and Islam. Baltimore: Edward Arnold,
Cohen, William. The French Encounter with Africans: White
Responses to Blacks. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1980.
Copson, Raymond W. Africa's Wars and Prospects for Peace. Armonk,
NY: M.E. Sharpe, Inc., 1994.
Gottlieb, Alma and Philip Graham. Parallel Worlds: An
Anthropologist and a Writer Encounter Africa. Bloomington, IN:
Indiana University Press, 1993.
Grootaert, Christiaan, et al. Analyzing Poverty and Policy
Reform: The Experience of Côte d'Ivoire. Avebury, 1996.
Guerry, Vincent. Life With The Baoule. Washington, D.C.: Three
Continents Press, 1975.
Handloff, Robert E., editor. Côte d'Ivoire: A Country Study. U.S.
Government Printing Office, 1991.
Harrison, Christopher. France and Islam in West Africa,
1860-1960. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988.
Hiskett, Mervyn. The Development of Islam in West Africa. White
Plains, NY: Longman, 1984.
Hudson, Peter. Leaf in the Wind: Travels in Africa. New York:
Walker and Company, 1989.
Kummer, Patricia K. Côte d'Ivoire: Enchantment of the World (For
school children ages 9-12). Children's Press, 1996.
Launay, Robert. Beyond the Stream: Islam and Society in a West
African Town. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992.
McNamara, Francis Terry. France in Black Africa. Washington,
D.C.: National Defense University Press, 1989.
Mundt, Robert J. Historical Dictionary of Côte d'Ivoire (African
Historical Dictionaries, No. 41). 1995.
Naipaul, V.S. "The Crocodiles of Yamoussoukro" in Finding the
Center. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1984.
Newton, Alex. "Côte d'Ivoire" in The Lonely Planet West Africa.
Fifth Edition. Fitzpatrick, Mary: Lonely Planet Publications, 2002.
Rapley, John. Ivoirien Capitalism: African Entrepreneurs in Côte
d'Ivoire. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publications, 1993.
Reader, John. Africa: A Biography of the Continent. New York:
Spindel, Carol. In the Shadow of the Sacred Grove. New York:
Vintage Books, 1989.
Steiner, Christopher Burghard. African Art in Transit. New York:
Cambridge University Press, 1994.
Vogel, Susan M. Baule: African Art Western Eyes. Yale University
Press, 1997 . Zartman, I. William, editor. Governance as Conflict
Management: Politics and Violence in West Africa, (especially
Chapter 3 by Tessy D. Bakary). Washington, D.C.: Brookings
Institution Press, 1997.
In French Contamin, Bernard, and Harris Memel-Fortˆ, editors. Le
Modéle Ivorien en Questions. Paris: Editions Karthala, 1997.
Gbagbo, Laurent. Côte d'Ivoire: Agir pour les libertés. Paris:
Richelieu, A. Mitterand. Les Francais en' Afriqúe Noire. Paris:
Armand Colifi, 1987. In addition, brief treatments are available in
the Department of State Background Notes series
(http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2846.htm). The unclassified
Country Commercial Guide for Côte d'Ivoire, submitted annually by
the Foreign and Commercial Service through the Embassy, provides a
current appraisal of general economic conditions and commercial
Web sites: http://abidjan.usembassy.gov
Local Holidays Last Updated: 6/21/2004 7:49 AM
The following local holidays are observed by the Embassy in
addition to traditional American holidays. New personnel and
visitors should avoid arriving on these days, since most public
institutions and shops are closed. Some dates vary; those indicated
below are for 2004. New Year's Day January 1 Tabaski February Easter
Monday April 12 Labor Day May 1 Ascension Day May 20 Pentecost May
31 Independence Day August 7 All Saints Day November 1 Night of
Destiny November (TBA) National Peace Day November 15 End of Ramadan
November (TBA) Christmas Day December 25