Côte d'Ivoire - Country Commercial Guide
Market Challenges

Learn about barriers to market entry and local requirements, i.e., things to be aware of when entering the market for this country.

Last published date: 2021-10-11

U.S. businesses operate successfully in the following Ivoirian sectors: agriculture and value-added agribusiness processing; power generation and renewable energy; IT services; digital economy; banking; insurance; and infrastructure. In 2020, Côte d’Ivoire maintained its position of 110 out of 190 economies in the World Bank’s Doing Business ranking and it ranked eleventh among the 48 sub-Saharan Africa countries, notably coming in ahead of Ghana, Senegal, and Nigeria. U.S. businesses have thrived in the Ivoirian cocoa sector for decades and continue to find success in the consulting and financial services industries.  However, the country’s French-based legal, commercial, and financial systems, business practices, and technical standards are unfamiliar to many prospective market entrants.  Companies that operate successfully in the country often select strong French speakers to lead their operations.  Other obstacles include:

  1. Slow and/or opaque decision-making in the Ivoirian government
  2. Distance and associated higher freight rates and longer transit times from the United States than from Europe
  3. Consolidated product packaging for French speaking countries in West Africa gives businesses operated by French speakers a cost advantage
  4. Local importers report their belief that European suppliers offer more favorable credit terms (amount of time to repay and interest rate) than American suppliers
  5. High customs clearance costs, added to uncertain customs clearance times for inexperienced importers
  6. Limited Ivoirian purchasing power for U.S.-made consumer goods