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The consumer

Consumer Profile
With a GDP per capita of USD 2,570 (IMF, 2021) and a median age of 20.3 years (CIA Wolrd Factbook, 2020 est.), the average Ivorian consumer is as young as consumers in most other neighbouring countries but richer than all of them except the ones in Nigeria. The average consumer is not well-educated with a school life expectancy of 10 years, compared to 9.3 years in Africa and 12.4 years in middle-income countries (World Bank, latest data available). The country is also marked by economic inequalities, with a Gini coefficient score of 41.5 points (58th worldwide) (CIA World Factbook, latest data available).
Consumer Behaviour
Ivorian economy has posted one of the strongest performances in Africa over the last years, with steady GDP growth, stable currency and solid infrastructure, which have all influenced consumer behaviour in the country. Ivorian consumers are still attracted to traditional retailers where bargaining is allowed and products are presented in a simpler form, however international and local retail brands (Carrefour, Bonprix, CDCI) are increasing their market share: 52% of consumers buy most of their grocery needs from open markets as opposed 35% of consumers that prefer supermarkets according to a Nielsen survey (latest data available). Consumers remain price-sensitive (42% of them know the price of most items and realise when there is a price change according to the same survey) and store loyal (46% of consumers rarely change stores). Consumer spending is expected to remain strong in the coming years, while the franc's peg to the euro limits inflation, unlike other African countries with a floating exchange rate regime.
Consumers Associations
List of consumer associations affiliated with FACACI
Associations des consommateurs (only in French)
 

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Importing & Distributing

Import Procedures
Côte d'Ivoire belongs to the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA which brings together the following countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo). Since 1 January 2000, and whatever their entry point into the UEMOA, third countries to the UEMOA pay duties and taxes defined according to the Common External Tariff (CET) of the UEMOA.
An import declaration must be filed with the National Single Window for Foreign Trade.

Documents for most goods shipped into Côte d’Ivoire include:

  • Commercial Invoice: Two copies of the freight invoices in French are required.  No specific form is required, but all invoices must contain the names of the exporter and consignee, number and types of packages, marks and numbers on the packages, net and gross weights, CIF value, terms of sale, and a thorough description of the merchandise.  Note that the importer will usually need a signed duplicate invoice to speed the release of the imported goods from customs.  This should be sent via air courier and arrive in Côte d’Ivoire prior to the arrival of the merchandise.
  • Certificate of Origin: Two certified copies are required.
  • Packing List: A packing list is not legally required, but such lists are usually considered essential in accelerating the time required for customs clearance.
  • Bill of Lading (or air waybill): No regulations specifying the content of a bill of lading. Importers should include clear marks of identification and the name and address of the consignee of the goods. Shipping marks on the goods must correspond exactly to the numbers on bills of lading/invoices.
  • Pro-Forma Invoice: Persons wishing to import goods are required to attach six copies of this invoice to the application for an import license and/or the intent to import.  A proforma invoice may also be required when presenting an application to Ivoirian authorities to ship bonded goods through the country.
  • Webb Fontaine Inspection Certificate: Issued by the inspecting Webb Fontaine Ruling Center delivered to the importer in Abidjan


 For imports above CFA 478,000, the importer must establish an anticipated import declaration (DAI) in the computerized system of customs clearance. For more information, please visit the website of the Côte d'Ivoire Customs Office (in French).

Distribution market players
The informal sector dominates large-scale distribution in Côte d'Ivoire and accounts for more than half of the commercial transactions. Nevertheless, the formal distribution sector is growing rapidly. PROSUMA (Ivory Coast Promotion Company of Supermarkets) and CDCI (Distribution Company of Côte d'Ivoire) are the two giants of the distribution sector in the country. The French group Carrefour has been present in the country since 2015, notably by aligning with the French CFAO Retail's strategy, which is accelerating the establishment of shopping centres in Côte d'Ivoire.

The local retail sector is booming, with several players:

  • MataHolding and its brand Cytadia: expanding in inland cities in and some residential neighbourhoods of Abidjan
  • Prosuma and its outlets Jour de Marché and Cash Ivoire
  • CDCI with Leader Price.


The retail sector is experiencing dynamic growth and some of the key players hope to double their number of stores by 2019. The biggest supermarket brands, King Cash, Hayat and Leader Price, have
a niche position in the retail market as they offer almost exclusively imported products at exorbitant prices, which puts them out of reach of the majority of Ivorian households.

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Operating a Business

Type of companies

Private Limited Company (SARL)
Number of partners: One minimum, with no maximum in the number of partners.
Capital (max/min): Minimum capital of XOF 1 million
Shareholders and liability: Liability is limited to the amount contributed.
Public Limited Company (SA)
Number of partners: Minimum of 1 shareholder and 3 directors.
Capital (max/min): Minimum capital of XOF 10 million
Shareholders and liability: Liability is limited to the amount contributed.
General Partnership (SNC)
Number of partners: One minimum, with no maximum in the nomber of partners.
Capital (max/min): No minimum capital required.
Shareholders and liability: Liability is limited to the amount contributed.
Limited Partnership (SCS)
Number of partners: Minimum 2 partners.
Two types of partners: silent partners and active partners.
Capital (max/min): No minimum capital required.
Shareholders and liability: Liability of active partners is unlimited. Liability of silent partners is limited to the amount contributed.
 
Setting Up a Company Ivory Coast Sub-Saharan Africa
Procedures (number) 4.0 7.5
Time (days) 6.0 21.3

Source: Doing Business - Latest available data.

 

Cost of Labour

Minimum Wage
In 2019, the minimum wage was XOF 60,000 per month according to the ILO (latest available data).
Average Wage
According to Salaryexplorer.com, in 2021, the average gross monthly wage is XOF 337,000 per month.
Social Contributions
Social Security Contributions Paid By Employers: Between 15.45% and 18.45% of salaries including 7.7% for the pension plan, 5.75% for family benefits and from 2% to 5% for workplace accident.
Social Security Contributions Paid By Employees: 6.30% of the gross wage for the pension plan.
 

Intellectual Property

National Organisations
Côte d'Ivoire has signed the agreement establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). You can contact the Ivorian Office of Intellectual Property (OIPI) by Email.
Regional Organisations
Member of the African Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) (in French).
International Membership
Member of the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization)
Signatory to the Paris Convention For the Protection of Intellectual Property
 

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Tax Rates

Consumption Taxes

Nature of the Tax
Value Added Tax (VAT) - Taxe sur la Valeur Ajoutée (TVA)
Tax Rate
18%
Reduced Tax Rate
The following items are exempt from VAT: services rendered as not-for-profit by associations of educational sport, tourism, education and popular culture; book sales and book-making work; sales of newspapers and periodicals; sales of medicines and pharmaceuticals, as well as materials and petrochemicals; sales of natural food products for consumption in IC; teaching activity excluding incidental operations such as sales of goods, housing supplies and food in boarding schools; sales of bread, cereal flours and cereals for the manufacture of these flours; fish freezing operations.

Exports of goods and services are zero-rated.

A reduced rate of 9% applies to 100% durum semolina-based pasta, milk, petroleum products and equipment for the production of solar energy.

Other Consumption Taxes
Excise duties apply on cigarette imports, alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages, and oil products. As of 2020, an excise duty of 10% applies to tourism vehicles with at least 13 horsepower. From 2021, perfume and cosmetic products are also subject to excise duties (from 10% to 50%).
 

Corporate Taxes

Company Tax
25% (standard rate)
Tax Rate For Foreign Companies
Non-resident businesses that do not have a permanent establishment are subject to a 20% withholding tax (standard rate that may change under a tax treaty).
Capital Gains Taxation
Capital gains are included in taxable income and taxed at the standard corporate tax rate. In certain cases, the tax can be deferred if the gain is reinvested within three years.
Main Allowable Deductions and Tax Credits
Amortisation of tangible and intangible assets is tax-deductible at rates ranging from 5% to 50%. Depreciation rates may be doubles for new plants and equipment in the first year of use. Goodwill from the transfer of assets is included in taxable profit but positive goodwill may be deducted if the taxpayer agrees to reinvest the amount during the three years succeeding these gains. Start-up costs must be amortised over a period of two to five years.
Interest charges may be deducted if the interest in question is of a loan the amount of which does not exceed the capital of the company. Interest expense cannot exceed 30% of the company's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation.
Bad debts are generally deductible. Donations to charitable organisations in the field of sport and health are deductible, same as for those made to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Fines and penalties are not deductible. Taxes are generally deductible (with the exception of withholding taxes).
Tax losses can be carried forward up to five years. The carryback of losses is not permitted. Royalties, interest, and management and service fees paid to foreign parent companies are tax-deductible, capped at 5% of the turnover and 20% of the overhead.
Other Corporate Taxes
The property tax varies from 1.5% to 15% depending on the use of the land. Property transfer taxes are 4% (sales) or 10% (lease transfer or business transfers). Stamp duties vary based on the deed and are also levied on the purchase of vehicles or pleasure boats.

The payroll tax is 2.8% for local employees, 12% for expatriate employees.
Social contributions payable by the employer are as follows: 5.75% of the salary for the Family Allowance Fund, between 2% and 5% for the industrial accident insurance, 7.7% for the pension fund. Family allowance and work injury are capped at XOF 70,000 per month each, whereas a ceiling of XOF 2,700,000 applies to the retirement pension.

All taxpayers pay a special tax (special equipment tax) equivalent to 0.1% of their turnover for the equipment and investment needs of the Directorate General for Taxation. This tax was due to be abolished by 31 December 2019; however, since 2020 financial law it became a permanent tax.

Business franchise tax, payable by all companies, is composed of a duty on the turnover and a duty on the rental value. The first contribution is 0.5% of turnover and is capped at XOF 3 million (minimum XOF 300,000). The second contribution is 18.5% of the rental value of the business premises.

A cumulative 10% tax applies to money transfer transactions handled by banks. The 18% VAT applies to transactions managed by other types of financial institutions.
Capital duty ranges from 0.1% to 0.3%. The capital increase is taxed at 6%.
Insurance premiums are taxed at rates ranging from 0.1% (export credit) to 25% (fire) depending on the nature of the contract.

A special tax of 5% is levied on the turnover of telecommunication and communication companies. The tax was extended to mobile money transfers in 2019. The services provided by telecommunication companies are subject to a special tax of 3%.

Rental income is subject to a 300% surtax if its amount exceeds the two-month guarantee and one-month upfront payment at the beginning of the lease.

Other Domestic Resources
Consult Doing Business Website, to obtain a summary of the taxes and mandatory contributions.
 

Double Taxation Treaties

Countries With Whom a Double Taxation Treaty Have Been Signed
See the list of countries that have signed a double taxation agreement with Ivory Coast
Withholding Taxes
Dividends: 10% (paid by a listed company)/15% Interest: 5% (long-term government bonds)/10% (short-term government bonds)/18% ; Royalties: 0 (residents)/20% (non-residents).

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