Abidjan, Ivory Coast
Last updated on Sep 17, 2022
Summary: Expats, digital nomads and retirees discuss what it is like to live in Abidjan, Ivory Coast: Cost of living, Finding a home, Meeting People and more.
What do expats in Abidjan appreciate most about the local culture?
"The people in general are actually quite friendly - but many will see foreigners as only a way to make cash and will take advantage of you. But if you are lucky enough to find some that are genuinely kind, they will do anything for you and will treat you like family," explained one expat living in Abidjan.
"It's okay to take an evening walk and have met some new and nice expats- international communities. No local friends at all," said another expat in Abidjan.
What do expats find most challenging?
"A couple of things... first has been the corrupt government and along with that, the bribing that goes on here. Currently, Ivory Coast has the fastest growing economy in Africa. But the local people are not reaping the rewards -- only the wealthy and government connected Lebanese and Ivorians are. It is extremely difficult and frustrating to see this very apparent inequality happening right in front of your face. Minimum wage has not been raised for many years and is currently at CFA 60,000/month... which is roughly USD $120. However, the price of electricity, for example, is very expensive at approximately USD $40 for very very very minimal usage in a small home. And high speed internet (2MBPS) is also roughly USD $40. This is not to mention rents, which have skyrocketed in the last 3 years... a modest, old style apartment in an okay part of the city will easily run you CFA 300,000/month. So obviously, this minimum wage is NOT a livable wage. For such a fast and wealthy growing economy - you would think they could do better for the people. But instead, the high ranking officials keep most of if for themselves. This also leads to bribing - which happens constantly and overtly here. I have been stopped 4 times by the police while driving just to "check my papers"... but I am always asked to pay something to them. They don't always give a reason, though sometimes they will make something up like, "your windows are too tinted" or "your tires don't seem to be in regulation with the car". And then they ask you for the equivalent of USD $3-5. It doesn't seem like a lot, but it is the principle of needing to pay someone, even though you've done nothing wrong. This happens all the time. I have been asked for money from the electricity company, the security company at our home, the driving license bureau, the lady who took my blood at the hospital, the guardian at my bank... everywhere. And it is outright and open. They are not ashamed to do it. It seems to be just a way of life - they expect you to give them extra money and they have no problem asking you for it," added another person living in Abidjan.
"Dealing with the locals and listening to their nonsense- including from maids and drivers- the attitude of the locals at all levels is the biggest issue especially when compared to Anglophone Africa- that is way progressive and a lot more respectful and less lazy," explained one expat living in Abidjan.
About the Author
Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.