Exporting guide to Ivory Coast (The Republic of Côte D’Ivoire)

Overview

The Ivory Coast (also known as The Republic of Côte D’Ivoire) is one of the largest economies of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS). It is a growing regional hub and can be the gateway to French-speaking Africa and the rest of the region for exporters.

Trade statistics

£185.0 million total UK exports to Ivory Coast (The Republic of Côte D’Ivoire) for the four quarters to the end of Q1 2022

(Source: ONS UK total trade: all countries, seasonally adjusted
Last updated: July 2022)

101st largest UK export market

(Source: ONS UK total trade: all countries, seasonally adjusted
Last updated: July 2022)

less than 0.1% of total UK exports for the four quarters to the end of Q1 2022

(Source: ONS UK total trade: all countries, seasonally adjusted
Last updated: July 2022)

Strong and vibrant West African economy

The Ivory Coast is a large economy in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). It is the world’s top exporter of cocoa beans, raw cashew nuts and a net exporter of oil. Significant reforms are being implemented to broaden and strengthen the manufacturing sector and attract investment.

An appetite for working with the UK

The Ivory Coast and the UK signed an Economic Partnership Agreement in 2020 with the aim of maintaining and improving trade and economic relationships. Officials and businesses are keen to work with non-traditional business partners. Many who have collaborated with British businesses appreciate the benefits of British expertise, due diligence, technology, and a winning partnership.

Top five UK goods exported to Ivory Coast (The Republic of Côte D’Ivoire), in the four quarters to the end of Q1 2022

Goods Value (£million)
Refined oil 21.1
Dairy products & eggs 9.4
Textile fibres 8.1
Cars 4.8
General industrial machinery (capital) 4.3

Source: ONS Trade in goods: country-by-commodity exports
Last updated: July 2022
Download the latest trade and investment factsheet for Ivory Coast (The Republic of Côte D’Ivoire).

Ivory Coast (The Republic of Côte D’Ivoire): at a glance

Economic growth

6.2%

Actual figure (IMF, 2019)
The UK is 1.7% (IMF, 2019, actual figure)

GDP per capita

$1,932

Actual figure (IMF, 2015)
The UK is $45,419 (IMF, 2015, actual figure)

Currency

West African CFA franc

Business language

French

You may need a translator

Time zone

GMT +0

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Opportunities for exporters

The Ivory Coast is looking to industrialise and transform its economy to become an emerging country. To achieve this the government has made a number of reforms in various sectors to attract more investment. There are opportunities for UK companies across a broad range of industries. Our trade advisers in Ivory Coast have identified opportunities for UK businesses in the following sectors:

Check for trade barriers

Trade barriers, such as tariffs or taxes, can raise costs, cause delays, or even stop you from exporting. Check for any issues that may impact your business when exporting.

See current trade barriers

See resolved trade barriers

Check duties and customs

Find information on how to export goods from the UK. View the duties, rules, restrictions, and the documents you need for your products.

See current duties and customs procedures

Doing business in Ivory Coast

The Ivory Coast and the UK signed an economic partnership agreement in 2020, which allows to maintain continuity in the trade relationship between both countries following the exit of the UK from the European Union.

Preparing to export

It’s important to familiarise yourself with the tax and customs arrangements in Ivory Coast if you’re exporting there. You’re advised to contact the DIT team in Ivory Coast to help find tax and legal advisers before entering into agreements.

VAT

The value added tax (VAT) rate is 18%. Subject to certain restrictions, VAT is recoverable.

The rate is reduced to 9% for:

  • milk (except yogurt and other dairy products)
  • infants’ milk and homogenised and composite preparation foods for infants
  • luxury rice
  • meat imported outside the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)
  • pasta products that contain 100% durum wheat semolina
  • equipment designed for the production of solar energy

Customs duties

Import duties vary per product. 45% will be levied on tobacco products, 50% on cosmetic products

Customs duties rates range from 0% to 35%, depending on the classification of the imported goods according to the customs tariff.

Imported goods are also subject to

  • 1% statistical duty
  • 0.8% community solidarity levy
  • 0.2% African Union import tax
  • 0.5% community levy
  • 18% VAT

Special taxes, depending on the nature of the imported goods, may apply, such as excise duties.

Trade barriers

Check for any reported barriers to trading with the Ivory Coast.

Report any trade barriers that are affecting your business so we can help fix them.

Operating in Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast offers significant opportunities for UK businesses and is a market worth exploring. However, you should ensure you are aware of the challenges and risks involved, and seek legal advice where necessary.

Intellectual property

Intellectual property (IP) rights are territorial. Rights granted in the UK do not provide protection elsewhere. You should consider getting IP protection abroad if you want to trade overseas or sell to overseas customers via the internet.

The Intellectual Property Office’s International IP Service provides practical information to help you protect, manage and enforce your IP abroad. Further support can be accessed through the service’s network of IP attachés. Based in key UK export markets, they provide guidance to British businesses on local IP matters.

Setting up a business

The Centre de Promotion des Investissements en Ivory Coast (CEPICI) is the government department that supports investors wishing to work in the Ivory Coast. It’s a one-stop shop for setting up a business in the country and can help in areas such as business registration, managing disputes and public and private investment opportunities.

Unique challenges of the market

Though an attractive market for doing business, the Ivory Coast presents some unique challenges. These include a shortage of skilled workers, corruption and high levels of poverty, resulting in limited purchasing power. UK businesses may also struggle with insufficient and unreliable market data and uncertainty of legal protection due to an inefficient court system.

Next steps

DIT can advise you on doing business abroad, and help put you in touch with other people who can help such as lawyers and distributors.