Exporting to Ivory Coast

Since 2014, Ivory Coast has become one of the fastest growing countries in Africa, with average annual growth of over 8% (IMF, 2019). It’s a regional hub and can be the gateway to French-speaking Africa for exporters.

Strong West African economy

Ivory Coast is the largest economy in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (World Bank, 2019). It is the world’s top exporter of cocoa and raw cashew nuts. It is a net exporter of oil and has a significant manufacturing sector.

Stable currency

The local currency in Ivory Coast is the West African CFA franc, which is pegged to the euro. As a result, inflation levels are kept to a minimum.

Growth potential

Real per capita GDP grew by 41% in the seven years to 2019 (IMF, 2019). This is projected to continue increasing which will increase the purchasing power of consumers in this economy.

Ease of doing business

122nd

out of 190 countries (World Bank, 2019)

Currency

West African CFA franc

Business language

French

You may need a translator

GDP per capita

$1,680

UK is $42,558 (IMF, 2018)

Economic growth

7.4%

(IMF, 2018)

Time zone

GMT +0

Opportunities for exporters

There are opportunities for UK companies across a broad range of industries. Our trade advisers in Ivory Coast have identified particular opportunities for UK businesses in the following sectors.

Doing business in Ivory Coast

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, pasta products that contain 100% durum wheat semolina, and equipment designed for the production of solar energy.

Corporate tax

The corporate tax rate for resident entities, and non-resident entities with a permanent establishment in Ivory Coast is 25%. The rate is 30% for companies in the telecommunication, information technology, and communication sectors. Non-resident entities are subject to withholding tax at 20% on income sourced from Ivory Coast, subject to existing double taxation agreements.

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

You’re advised to apply for trademark and patent protection before entering into business in Ivory Coast. Although the Ivorian Civil Code protects intellectual property rights, the protection offered does not meet World Trade Organisation standards.

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.