Ivory Coast Country Facts

By | June 13, 2024
Ivory Coast
Capital city Yamoussoukro
Surface 322.460 km²
Population 27.000.000
Road network length 13.000 km
Length of highway network 282 km
First highway 1967
Motorway name Highway
Traffic drives To the right
License plate code CI

Ivory Coast, formally Côte d’Ivoire (French: République de Côte d’Ivoire), is a country in western Africa. The country is located on the Atlantic Ocean and has approximately 27 million inhabitants. The capital is Yamoussoukro, the largest city is the more famous Abidjan. The country is about 8 times the size of the Netherlands.


Côte d’Ivoire is a country in West Africa. The country is named after the coast on which it lies, the Ivory Coast. The country borders Liberia and Guinea to the west, Mali and Burkina Faso to the north and Ghana to the east. The capital Yamoussoukro is centrally located in the middle of the country, the largest city Abidjan is located in the southeast on the coast. The country consists largely of a plateau that gradually rises from sea level to 500 meters altitude. The highest point is the 1752 meter high Mont Nimba, located on the border with Guinea. This mountain range is much higher than the rest of the country, even in the immediate vicinity the land is no higher than about 500 meters.

The south of Côte d’Ivoire consists of tropical rainforests, which in the north turns into savanna. The country has three major rivers, from west to east the Sassandra, Bandama and Komoé. Reservoirs have been developed in these rivers, the Lac de Kossou being the largest. The coastline consists largely of narrow sandy beaches with lagoons and swamps beyond.

Côte d’Ivoire has a largely tropical climate, ranging from equatorial in the south to somewhat drier in the north. There are three seasons: hot and dry (November-March), hot and dry (March-May) and hot and wet (June-October). The average maximum temperature in Abidjan is between 27 and 31 °C throughout the year. There is 1850 mm of precipitation per year. The capital Yamoussoukro, located inland, has somewhat higher maximum temperatures and slightly less precipitation.


The country is experiencing strong population growth. In 1950 the country had only 2.6 million inhabitants, in the 1980s the limit of 10 million was exceeded and in 2010 the limit of 20 million. By far the largest city is the port city of Abidjan with 4.4 million inhabitants. This is also one of the largest cities in West Africa. In addition, there are 9 other cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants, which are fairly spread out across the country. The capital Yamoussoukro is the 5th largest city in the country in population.

Côte d’Ivoire has a diverse society with multiple ethnicities. The Akan are the largest ethnic group. About 70 languages ​​are spoken in the country. French is the official language and the lingua franca. Dyula is an important trade language. Côte d’Ivoire has a more developed economy than the neighboring countries, which means that there are also many migrant workers.


Côte d’Ivoire is one of the more successful economies in West Africa. The port of Abidjan plays an important role, not only for the Côte d’Ivoire but also for neighboring countries located inland. The country has a somewhat developed agricultural sector, which is able to play a role in exports, and not just for its own food supply. Côte d’Ivoire is the largest exporter of cocoa beans in the world. Other agricultural products and rubber are also exported on a significant scale. In addition, oil is extracted in the coastal region. The country also has an above-average developed infrastructure for the region.


Before European colonization there were several kingdoms in the area. In the 17th and 18th centuries, these were relatively developed kingdoms with central government, unlike many other parts of sub-Saharan Africa. In contrast to Ghana, there was less slave trade from Côte d’Ivoire. The first Europeans in the area were the Portuguese in 1482. The French did not establish longer-lasting settlements until the mid-19th century. The area then became a French protectorate, although this was not fully established until around 1915. The eastern and western boundaries were established as early as the 1890s, but the northern boundary was not established until 1947. In the first half of the 20th century, a relatively extensive infrastructure was developed.

The country became independent in 1960, and was well established as the most prosperous ex-colony in West Africa. At the time, Côte d’Ivoire accounted for 40% of French West Africa’s exports. Unlike other African ex-colonies, after independence, Europeans moved to the Côte d’Ivoire because of the booming economy. Côte d’Ivoire was the fastest growing non-oil economy in Africa. However, the country also had to deal with political instability or authoritarian regimes. A low-intensity civil war raged between 2002 and 2007, leading to a split of power, with rebels in the north and government in the south. In the period 2010-2011, a second civil war followed, again of a relatively minor scale, in contrast to the large-scale conflicts elsewhere in Africa.

Road Network

In terms of infrastructure, Côte d’Ivoire is one of the top in West Africa, with a fairly extensive road network, of which 13,000 kilometers are paved. All places of interest are connected by paved roads, although the quality can be disappointing. There are a number of motorways in Côte d’Ivoire, especially the highway from Abidjan to Yamoussoukro is modern with 2×2 lanes and grade separated connections. The city of Abidjan also has a fairly large network of expressways and highways that have grade separated intersections. The highway network is approximately 320 kilometers long, of which 226 kilometers between Abidjan and Yamoussoukro. There are several border crossings with neighboring countries, notably Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana. There are fewer cross-border connections with Liberia and Guinea. The well-known gas stations are around Abidjan

Abidjan has an extensive highway network around the center, with 2×2, 2×3 and sometimes 2×4 lanes. There are several nodes and traffic jams are common. Of the approximately 600,000 passenger cars in the Côte d’Ivoire, many are driving in Abidjan, often old French and Japanese cars from the early 1990s. The Toyota Corolla is particularly popular.

Highways in Ivory Coast
Northern Motorway • Abidjan – Grand Bassam Motorway • Abidjan – San Pedro Motorway • Abidjan Motorway • Boulevard de Gaulle • C2 Motorway


In 1967, the country’s first highway was opened, Boulevard de Gaulle in Abidjan. This was also one of the first highways in West Africa. A few highways were built in Abidjan in the 1980s and in 1982 a large part of the Autoroute du Nord from Abidjan to Yamoussoukro opened. In 2013, the second part of it opened to the capital Yamoussoukro.

Road numbering

Although Côte d’Ivoire was a French colony, the road numbering is based on the British system of A and B roads. The A roads form a grid network, with odd single-digit numbers forming north-south routes and even one- and two-digit numbers forming east-west roads. The A12 is the northernmost east-west route. Three-digit numbers are branches of single-digit numbers with a number added to the end. The middle number is always 0. B numbers are zoned depending on the first number. Highways have no numbers.


The signage in Côte d’Ivoire is identical to that in France.


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