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Working in Abidjan?

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Adam Malewski

Living in Côte d'Ivoire, from Poland

"I use InterNations mainly for business and made some very valuable expat contacts here in Abidjan."

Lotta Koskinen

Living in Côte d'Ivoire, from Finland

"Settling as an expat woman in Abidjan wasn't easy in the beginning. Until a friend invited me to InterNations..."

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Abidjan at a Glance

Working in Abidjan

Abidjan is known as the economic capital of Ivory Coast. Expats could find employment opportunities in the fishing industry, financial services, and the industrial sector. All expats planning to work in Abidjan need a work permit. Check out the InterNations Expat Guide for more information about working in Abidjan.

Local Economy

After coming through a period of political and economic instability, Ivory Coast's economy is showing signs of consistent growth, and nowhere in the country is this more evident than Abidjan. Although not the official capital of the country - that would be Yamoussoukro - Abidjan is the largest city in Ivory Coast and its economic center.

As a result, Abidjan's economic output accounts for a vast majority of the country's GDP (PPP) of 48 billion USD, and many of Ivory Coast's national banks and financial institutions are located in the city, including the Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières (BRVM), Ivory Coast's main stock exchange. However, Abidjan is also an industrial city, and fishing is one of the city's major employers.

Expatriates working in Abidjan tend to be employed in senior positions in fishing and industry, or in managerial roles in the financial sector. The service sector is also a major employer of English speaking expatriates, as tourism has grown rapidly in the city in the last ten years. There is also an increasing call for English teachers.

Work Permits for Abidjan

All expatriates wanting to work in Abidjan will need a permit in order to do so. However, in Ivory Coast work permits are issued alongside residency visas, so there is no need to make two applications in order to obtain both a permit to work in Abidjan and a residency visa.

Like many countries, Ivory Coast requires expatriates to apply for a work permit from within their home country through their embassy or consulate, and in order to apply you must have already secured work in Abidjan, as your prospective employer will play a part in your application.

In order for the permit to be granted, your prospective employer must provide evidence that no Ivorian is able to fill your prospective position, as well as have the employment contract approved by the Ministry of Security. For more information on applying for permits for working in Abidjan, you are advised to contact your local Ivorian embassy or consulate.

Income Taxation in Abidjan

Every person working in Abidjan is required by law to pay income tax on their earnings, including expatriates. However, as a foreigner, you may not be required to pay income tax at Ivorian rates on all of your income, but this depends on your residency status.

If you are considered a resident of Ivory Coast for tax purposes, by which it means that you live and work in Abidjan for more than 183 days in a year, you will pay income tax at Ivorian rates on your worldwide income. However, if you live and work in Abidjan for less than 183 days in a year, then you will be required to pay income tax at Ivorian rates on your Ivorian income only.

Ivory Coast has a progressive, sliding scale tax system, which means that your total earnings will determine how much income you are required to pay. The tax rates for expatriates and foreigners working in Abidjan currently range from about 9% to 37%. Like most other countries, income tax is held at source by your employer through PAYE. 

InterNations Expat Magazine