Business Registration in Ivory Coast: A Step-by-Step Guide

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In Ivory Coast, the facilitation of business creation and investment promotion is primarily managed by two agencies: the Centre de Facilitation des Formalités des Entreprises (CFE) and the Ivoirian Investment Promotion Center (Centre de Promotion des Investissements en Côte d’Ivoire or CEPICI). The CFE is dedicated to streamlining the process of business start-up, aiming to accomplish registration within 48 hours. On the other hand, CEPICI focuses on supporting joint-venture operations and investments within the country. Operating as a “one-stop shop” in Abidjan, CEPICI offers guidance to foreign investors and simplifies the business registration process, reducing bureaucratic hurdles.

In Ivory Coast, there are four common types of business registrations:

  • Sole Proprietorship (Entreprise Individuelle): A business owned and operated by a single individual.
  • Limited Liability Company (Société à Responsabilité Limitée – SARL): A business structure where the liability of shareholders is limited to their contributions to the company.
  • Public Limited Company (Société Anonyme – SA): A company whose shares are publicly traded on the stock exchange, with ownership distributed among shareholders.
  • Branch of a Foreign Company (Succursale): An extension of a foreign company operating in Ivory Coast, subject to the laws and regulations of the country.

Each type of registration offers distinct advantages and considerations, depending on the nature and scope of the business. Understanding these options is essential for entrepreneurs seeking to establish a presence in Ivory Coast’s dynamic and growing economy.

Sole Proprietorship (Entreprise Individuelle):

A sole proprietorship (entreprise individuelle) is a business formed and owned by an individual. It is easy to establish and run, unlike other, more complex forms. The law does not distinguish the business from its owner. Being run by only one person, this form is flexible to the changing business environment, as there is only one decision-maker. The liability of a sole trader is unlimited, which means that he/she is responsible for all the assets and debts of his/her business. Foreigners are eligible to register Sole Proprietor business in Ivory Coast.

Registration process for Sole Proprietor registration

While the process itself is straightforward, it’s essential to gather the required documentation beforehand. Here is a list of the documents needed:

  • Copy of national ID card or passport for citizens, or consulate card for foreigners
  • Copy of birth certificate
  • Two copies of the tenancy agreement
  • Residence certificate (Either water bill or an electricity bill) (obtainable from the National Identification Office).
  • Marriage certificate, if applicable
  • Criminal record (issued within the last three months)

Most of the forms are only available in French. After gathering all the necessary documents, take them to the office, complete the application form, and submit it to the designated officer. A registration fee of XOF60,000 must be paid upon submission. The application process typically takes up to two weeks to complete. If all requirements are met, you will receive your registration certificate, and your business will also be registered for tax purposes.

Limited Liability Company (Société à Responsabilité Limitée – SARL)

A separate legal entity where shareholders’ liability is limited to their contributions. A company limited liability company (LLC) must appoint at least 1 director and 1 shareholder who can be of any nationality.

Public Limited Company (Société Anonyme – SA)

A company whose shares are freely transferable, with shareholders’ liability limited to their contributions. This business entity requires at least 1 shareholder and 3 directors must be appointed, who can be of any nationality.

Branch of a Foreign Company (Succursale)

Registering a branch (Succursale) of a foreign company in Ivory Coast involves several procedural steps. Initially, a unique name must be chosen for the branch, adhering to local naming regulations. Following this, the foreign company needs to compile requisite documentation, including a notarized copy of its articles of incorporation, a power of attorney designating a local representative, and other pertinent corporate papers. These documents are then submitted to the Commercial Registry Office (Registre du Commerce et du Crédit Mobilier, RCCM) along with the necessary registration fees. Appointing a legal representative or agent within Ivory Coast is crucial to manage legal and administrative matters on behalf of the foreign entity. Depending on local regulations, certain information about the branch may need to be published in official gazettes or local newspapers. Additionally, registration with local tax authorities is essential to obtain a tax identification number (TIN) and fulfill tax obligations. Vigilance regarding renewal dates for registrations, licenses, and permits, as well as updating information with local authorities as necessary, ensures the branch’s continued legal operation and effective business conduct within Ivory Coast’s jurisdiction.


Step 1: Choose your company type

The first step in registering a company in Cote d’Ivoire is to choose the type of company you want to register. Each of these business entities has its own advantages and disadvantages, and the choice of entity will depend on the nature of your business and your specific needs.

Step 2: Choose a business name and reserve it.

Once you have chosen the type of business entity, you need to choose a business name. The business name must be unique and not already registered by another business in Cote d’Ivoire. You can check the availability of a business name through the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Cote d’Ivoire (CCI-CI). The Cote d’Ivoire Centre for the Promotion of Investment (CEPICI) has guidelines for acceptable names, which can be found at this link: Once you have chosen a business name, you need to reserve it by completing an application form and paying a fee. The reservation is valid for 30 days, during which time you must complete the registration process.

Step 3: Prepare the required documents

Prepare the necessary documentation for your chosen company type. The key documents are:

  • Application Form: A formal application form. It must be completed with accurate information about the company and its owners.


  • Articles of Association or Statutes (for SARL, SA): This document outlines the company’s name, objectives, share capital, management structure, and internal regulations. It must be notarized by a notary public in Ivory Coast.


  • Proof of Capital Deposit: Documentation demonstrating that the required minimum capital of XOF10,000,000 and above (For Public Limited Company ) has been deposited into a bank account in the company’s name. A bloc account is required to be opened by the assistance of a lawyer in Ivory Coast for the purpose of company formation. Once company has been formed, the account would be active for operation.


  • Identification Documents: Copies of identification documents (passport, national ID, etc.) for all shareholders, directors, secretary and auditor.


  • Proof of Address: Evidence of the registered address of the company, such as a utility bill or lease agreement.


  • Tax Identification Number (TIN): A copy of the Tax Identification Number (TIN) obtained for the company from the tax authorities.


  • Notarization Certificate: A certificate issued by a notary public or other authorized official confirming the notarization of the articles of association or statutes.


  • Power of Attorney (if applicable): If someone is acting on behalf of the company during the registration process, a power of attorney document may be required.

Application for Company Registration (for all types). These forms can be downloaded from the CEPICI’s website:

Step 4: Identify company officers and shareholders

You will need to have at least one director (for SARL, SA) or one representative (for Branch of a foreign company). Directors or representatives must be at least 18 years old. Shareholders can be individuals or corporate entities.

Step 5: Capital requirements

Cote d’Ivoire requires a minimum capital of XOF 1,000,000 for SARLs, XOF     10,000,000 for SAs, and no minimum capital for SASs. There is no minimum capital requirement for branches of foreign companies.

Step 6: Register your company

Once all documents are ready, submit the application to the Cote d’Ivoire Centre for the Promotion of Investment (CEPICI). This can be done in person at their office or online via the following link:

 Cost of registering a business in ivory coast

The fees for registering a company are as follows:

  • SARL: XOF 60,000-XOF80,000 (approximately)
  • SA: XOF 750,000(approximately)
  • Branch of a foreign company: XOF 90,000 (approximately)

Once the application is approved, a certificate of incorporation will be issued and the company will be officially registered as a business in Cote d’Ivoire.

Ivory Coast Business certificate registration

                             Sample certificate of company registration

Duration-How long does it take to register a business in Ivory Coast?

The entire registration process, from preparing documents to receiving your Certificate of Incorporation, can take anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks, depending on the complexity of your application.

Compliances after company registration

Register for taxes

After a company is registered, there is the need to register for tax with the Cote d’Ivoire General Tax Directorate (DGI). This can be done in person at the local Tax Office or online via the following link:

Obtain necessary permits and licenses

Depending on the business activities, there may be the need to obtain additional permits or licenses. Check with the relevant authorities and industry regulators for specific requirements.


Navigating the process of business registration in Ivory Coast may initially appear daunting, but with a clear understanding of the steps involved and the necessary documentation, it becomes a manageable endeavor. This step-by-step guide has aimed to demystify the intricacies of registering a business in Ivory Coast, offering insights into the requirements, procedures, and resources available. By following this comprehensive guide, entrepreneurs can confidently embark on their journey to establish a business in Ivory Coast, contributing to the vibrant and dynamic economic landscape of the country.

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