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Côte d'Ivoire Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

After withdrawing from the government coalition, the Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire is likely to spearhead calls for protests demanding reform of the electoral commission ahead of presidential polls in late 2020 when Alassane Ouattara is due to stand down as head of state. Côte d’Ivoire will continue to rely heavily on international companies to export cocoa, of which it is the world’s leading producer, as farmgate prices remain relatively low and the bulk of indigenous exporters have proved unable to fulfil forward sale contracts if prices slump. The risk of a major terrorist attack continues to decline as Mali-based Islamist groups turn their attention elsewhere, and groups based closer to Ivorian borders have not staged any attacks for a considerable time. The Ivorian army is also improving its anti-terrorist capability with regular training and assistance from France. Political normalisation, the improved business environment, a sound programme of reforms, and supportive fiscal policy have contributed to the country’s strong economic performance since 2012. IHS Markit is forecasting GDP to grow by 6.6% in 2019, for an eighth successive year of strong growth. Steady public investment will continue to benefit domestic and ensure strong contributions to growth spanning several sectors, including agriculture, mining, and construction. Consumer spending will edge up but is unlikely to accelerate significantly during 2019. A larger cocoa crop, low inflation, and a stable monetary policy stance will drive near-term real income gains, but the impact of relatively low cocoa prices on farming income and slower growth in the agricultural and agro-processing sectors will continue to dampen consumer spending.
Last update: March 26, 2019

Operational Outlook

Transforming the operational environment has been a high priority for President Ouattara, amid efforts to boost reconciliation through steady growth. New mining and investment codes have improved regulation, the cocoa industry has been restructured, and incentives in agriculture have been prioritised. The government has agreed to pay public-sector wage arrears over a prolonged period, in a bid to prevent large-scale strikes, although stoppages have taken place when payments are delayed. Some reductions in levels of corruption have been achieved, although endemic racketeering by security forces can affect business operations.

Last update: March 26, 2019

Terrorism

High

Côte d'Ivoire faced a serious terrorism threat when Islamist fighters linked to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) killed 19 people at Grand Bassam, near Abidjan, in March 2016. However, there has been no repeat attack and the threat is likely to continue to diminish as Côte d'Ivoire improves anti-terrorism capabilities and AQIM focuses heavily on the Sahel. Attacks in western border areas by Liberia-based groups linked to former president Laurent Gbagbo have ended, but jailbreaks and attacks on police posts occurred in July–August 2017. Niger Delta-based pirates pose a moderate threat to shipping in Ivorian waters, having formerly targeted Abidjan's congested tanker terminal.

Last update: November 3, 2018

Crime

Much of the most serious and organised crime in Côte d'Ivoire is carried out or controlled by former warlords from the rebel Forces Nouvelles, who are now integrated into the national army. They still control networks involved in smuggling of cocoa beans and diamonds, as well as arms trafficking. Former combatants from the most recent post-election conflict and earlier are involved in highway robberies, particularly in northern and volatile western areas, often shooting at vehicles to make them stop. The proliferation of weapons has also driven a rise in violent crime in the commercial capital Abidjan, but most of the city's areas remain relatively safe.

Last update: March 26, 2019

War Risks

Widespread mutinies during the first half of 2017 underscored the deep-seated divisions within the armed forces that have persisted since post-election conflict in 2010–11 and continue to threaten long-term stability. An additional series of security incidents from mid-2017 to early 2018, including attacks on gendarmerie or police posts and prison escapes, small-scale riots, and alleged arson attacks on markets, underscored the volatility of the security environment. President Ouattara has taken greater personal control of military spending, and promoted several former rebels to senior posts. Côte d'Ivoire amicably accepted the settlement in September 2017 of a maritime border dispute relating to oil-rich waters that saw Ghana's case largely upheld.

Last update: March 26, 2019

Social Stability

High

The scale and violence of political protests are likely to increase prior to a presidential election in late 2020 when a resurgent opposition has a strong chance of taking power, but demonstrations will be aimed initially at reform of the electoral commission and code. Protests are likely to take place in the wake of the acquittal of former president Laurent Gbagbo by the International Criminal Court in January 2019, both for and against his return to the country. A series of arson attacks in the first half of 2018 underlines the volatility of public reaction across the country and distrust of centrally appointed authorities.

Last update: March 26, 2019

Health Risk

Severe

Vaccines required to enter the country

Yellow fever: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for all travelers over nine months of age upon entry to the country. A single dose of YF vaccine is sufficient to confer sustained life-long immunity against the disease; it should be taken ten days in advance to be fully effective.

Vaccines recommended for all travelers

Routine vaccinations: Consult your doctor to ensure all routine vaccinations - such as for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, influenza, measles, mumps, pertussis, rubella, varicella, etc. - are up to date (include booster shots if necessary).

Vaccines recommended for most travelers

Hepatitis A: The vaccine is given in two doses, six months apart, and is nearly 100 percent effective. The WHO recommends the vaccine be integrated into national routine immunization schedules for children aged one year or older.

Malaria: There is currently no malaria vaccine. However, various antimalarial prophylactics are available by prescription and can reduce risk of infection by up to 90 percent. Different medications are prescribed depending on the risk level and the strains of the virus present in the destination. Antimalarial tablets need to be taken throughout the trip to be effective and may need to be taken for as long as four weeks following the trip.

Typhoid fever: The typhoid fever vaccine can be administered via injection (administered in one dose) or orally (four doses). The vaccine is only 50-80 percent effective, so travelers to areas with a risk of exposure to typhoid fever, a bacterial disease, should also take hygienic precautions (e.g. drink only bottled water, avoid undercooked foods, wash hands regularly, etc.). Children can be given the shot beginning at two years of age (six for the oral vaccine).

Vaccines recommended for some travelers

Hepatitis B: The WHO recommends that all infants receive their first dose of vaccine as soon as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours. The birth dose should be followed by two or three doses to complete the primary series. Routine booster doses are not routinely recommended for any age group.

Meningococcal meningitis: There are several types of meningococcal vaccines. None offer full immunity and some require periodic booster shots. Consult your doctor to determine which is best for you depending on medical history and travel plans.

Rabies: The rabies vaccination is typically only recommended for travel to remote areas and if the traveler will be at high risk of exposure (e.g. undertaking activities that will bring them into contact with dogs, cats, bats, or other mammals). The vaccination is administered in three doses over a three-to-four week period. Post exposure prophylaxis is also available and should be administered as soon as possible following contact with an animal suspected of being infected (e.g. bites and scratches).

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks

Very high

Poor weather conditions - such as torrential rain and consequent flooding is observed in the south, especially in Abidjan, particularly during the rainy season (May to November) - can disrupt travel to, from, and within the country. Torrential rains resulted in several deaths and serious damage in Abidjan in May 2017. Summer rains often result in flooding (e.g. along the banks of the Bandama River), mudslides, and road closures, particularly in the south of the country. During periods of heavy rain, is it advisable to avoid poorer neighborhoods where inadequate construction standards put building occupants at risk.

From November to March, the Harmattan wind emanating from the Western Sahara blows through the country, carrying with it large amounts of dust, which can lead to severe air traffic disruptions and respiratory issues.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Transportation

High

The road network remains unstable in Côte d'Ivoire despite intense infrastructures development programs; only 10 percent of all roads are paved. Driving habits are erratic and the lack of street lighting and standard ambulance/emergency medical services in rural areas increase risks related to road travel.

According to American consular authorities, several foreign nationals have been targeted in particularly violent attacked in 2015 as they were traveling on major thoroughfares outside Abidjan. This sort of attack tends to increase in likelihood after nightfall and on market days.

In rural and secluded areas, travel by night should be limited. It is best to travel in a convoy made up of at least two vehicles. Additionally, in the event of a car accident resulting in bodily damage, it is advised to go directly to the nearest police station instead of staying at the scene to avoid hostile behavior by locals.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

In the south of the country, below the horizontal line passing through Yamoussoukro, the climate is equatorial and very wet. The rainy season extends from May until November with a bit of a respite around July and August. The rest of the year conditions continue to be humid, with overcast skies and rain not uncommon; temperatures during this period remain stable, between 29°C and 32°C. The climate is more tropical in the north of the country, with a fairly intense rainy season lasting from May until September.

The most pleasant time to visit the Ivory Coast is between November and March when the country enjoys blue skies, drier conditions, and cooler nights. The Harmattan, a wind from the Sahara, blows, sometimes strongly, across the country, bringing with it drier and dustier conditions.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +225
in Abidjan  
Police Headquarters: 20 22 08 22
Central Police Station: 20 21 00 22 / 20 22 42 27 / 20 21 77 92
Gendarmerie: 20 21 88 83
Reanimation: 185
UAS Abidjan: 22 44 31 47 / 22 44 44 45
in Yamoussoukro  
Police Station: 30 64 11 63 / 30 64 00 24
Gendarmerie: 30 64 00 22
Hospital (C.H.R.): 30 64 00 33

Electricity

Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019