Cote d'Ivoire Travel Information

Photo Close ties to France since independence in 1960, the development of cocoa production for export, and foreign investment made Cote d'Ivoire one of the most prosperous of the tropical African states. Falling cocoa prices and political turmoil, however, sparked an economic downturn in 1999 and 2000. On 25 December 1999, a military coup - the first ever in Cote d'Ivoire's history - overthrew the government led by President Henri Konan BEDIE.


Cote d'Ivoire has more than 60 ethnic groups, usually classified into five principal divisions: Akan (east and center, including Lagoon peoples of the southeast), Krou (southwest), Southern Mande (west), Northern Mande (northwest), Senoufo/Lobi (north center and northeast). The Baoules, in the Akan division, probably comprise the largest-single subgroup with 15-20% of the population. They are based in the central region around Bouake and Yamoussoukro. The Betes in the Krou division, the Senoufos in the north, and the Malinkes in the northwest and the cities are the next largest groups, with 10-15% each of the national population. Most of the principal divisions have a significant presence in neighboring countries.


The early history of Cote d'Ivoire is virtually unknown, although it is thought that a Neolithic culture existed. France made its initial contact with Cote d'Ivoire in 1637, when missionaries landed at Assignee near the Gold Coast (now Ghana) border. Early contacts were limited to a few missionaries because of the inhospitable coastline and settlers' fear of the inhabitants.


The Ivoirian economy is largely market-based and depends heavily on the agricultural sector. Between 60% and 70% of the Ivoirian people are engaged in some form of agricultural activity. The economy performed poorly in the 1980s and early 1990s, and high population growth coupled with economic decline 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 was substantially higher two decades ago.)

Important: Travel to Cote d'Ivoire may require a travel visa. Whether a visa is required for travel depends on citizenship and purpose of journey. Please be sure to review Travisa's Cote d'Ivoire visa instructions for details. Visa instructions for other countries are available on our do I need a visa page.

Country Statistics

Full country name: Republic of Cote d'Ivoire
Capital city: Yamoussoukro
Area: 322,463 sq km
Population: 21,952,093
Ethnic groups: Akan 42.1%, Voltaiques or Gur 17.6%, Northern Mandes 16.5%, Krous 11%, Southern Mandes 10%, other 2.8%
Languages: French
Religions: Muslim 38.6%, Christian 32.8%, indigenous 11.9%, none 16.7%
Government: republic
Chief of State: President Alassane Dramane OUATTARA
Head of Government: Prime Minister Daniel Kablan DUNCAN
GDP: 36.07 billion
GDP per captia: 1,600
Annual growth rate: 4.7%
Inflation: 5.1%
Agriculture: coffee, cocoa beans, bananas, palm kernels, corn, rice, cassava
Major industries: foodstuffs, beverages
Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, diamonds, manganese, iron ore, cobalt, bauxite, copper, gold, nickel, tantalum, silica sand, clay, cocoa beans, coffee, palm oil, hydropower
Location: Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Ghana and Liberia
Trade Partners - exports: Netherlands 11.3%, US 11.2%, Germany 7.2%, Nigeria 5.9%, Canada 5.8%, France 5.8%, South Africa 5.3%
Trade Partners - imports: Nigeria 35.1%, France 10%, China 5.6%, Colombia 4.8%