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A Practical Guide to the Way of Life in Ivory Coast

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  • Adam Malewski

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

Life in Ivory Coast

Education in Ivory Coast

The public education system in Ivory Coast is way behind that of many Western countries. It is underfunded and overcrowded, and illiteracy remains a large problem, particularly amongst women.

There is free education for children between the ages of five and 15, and the curriculum is taught in French, although many children do not attend school. Many expatriates living in Ivory Coast send their children to an international school, where they can be taught in English.

The most notable in the country are the International Community School of Abidjan, Morning Glory International School, and the Private Preparatory School — these are all located in Abidjan, the largest city. Ivory Coast has two universities, the Université de Cocody in Abidjan and the Université de Bouaké in Bouaké.

Healthcare in Ivory Coast

Although the government had previously abolished the free, public healthcare system due to political unrest, it announced at the start of 2015 that it would be re-introducing a public healthcare scheme for all residents. It will be funded by the collection of mandatory health insurance, which will be added on top of any income tax at a flat rate of 1,000 XOF per person.

As an expatriate living in Ivory Coast, you will be entitled to use this free healthcare system, as long as you are paying the right contributions. However, the standard of care and facilities is poor, especially outside of the major cities. So many expatriates living in Ivory Coast take out private healthcare insurance, and travel to nearby countries with better facilities for major or delicate treatment. Expatriates are advised to stock up on any prescription medicines before moving there, as they can be hard to find and you may experience long waiting times for appointments.

Transportation in Ivory Coast

Expatriates living in Ivory Coast will be able to make use of the country’s transportation system. The road network covers around 55,000 km, but only one tenth of those roads are paved, many of which are situated in and around the urban areas.

Outside of the major cities, it is advised that expatriates drive a 4 x 4 or off-road vehicle, as the roads are not suitable for regular cars. The roads are often heavily congested, so road accidents are commonplace. There are also frequent police and military checkpoints on the roads.

You will need to obtain an international driving permit to drive legally in Ivory Coast. The public transportation system, although better in urban areas, is not of the same standard as many Western countries. The country’s rail network, which has 660 km of track, has links to nearby countries, including Mali, Burkina Faso, and Ghana.

🎉 Calling all expats in Abidjan! 🎉 As the holy month of Ramadan and Christian fasting draw to a close, it's time to come together for a joyous reunion! 🌙✨ Join us for a delightful evening of cama

See all upcoming events for expats in Ivory Coast

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  • Adam Malewski

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

  • Lotta Koskinen

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

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