Recover More on the Ivory Coast

Local Côte d’Ivoire debt collection that gets you paid fast

While the Ivory Coast has made great strides in recent years, gaps in business infrastructure still pose significant challenges for debt recovery. Cedar Financial helps businesses recover more in West Africa with:

  • Vetted local offices specialized in Ivory Coast debt recovery
  • Experienced creditor’s rights attorneys in Ivory Coast
  • In-person field visits to your debtor’s location

Our “People-First” approach is fair, but firm for improved success rates in Abidjan and elsewhere. New or old, consumer or commercial, we can deliver.

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Top Challenges in Ivory Coast Debt Collection

Language & Cultural Barriers

A Francophile nation, the official language of Ivory Coast (or Côte d’Ivoire) is French, but an estimated 70 languages are spoken throughout the country, with Dyula spoken by the Muslim population and as a trade language. Sunni Muslims and Christians make up the majority of the population, with about 19% nonreligious and 3% traditional African religions.

About 77% of the population is considered Ivorian. Ethnic groups include Akan, Voltaiques or Gur, Northern Mandés, Krous, Southern Mandés and others, including French and Lebanese citizens. About 20% of the population consists of workers from neighboring countries.

With such a diverse population, it can be difficult for international creditors to contact and communicate with debtors in Côte d’Ivoire. 

Cedar Financial’s local Ivory Coast debt collectors are familiar with the laws, languages and customs of the area, and can visit your Ivorian debtor for faster resolution of your claim.

Request a quote today to get started. 

Growing Market Makes Business a Challenge

As the Ivory Coast is still a growing market, the business environment is poor with little infrastructure to help creditors and debt collectors resolve debts. While the country is undergoing modernization, there are still sizable gaps that could hinder your ability to collect. 

For example, there is no formal credit reporting in the country, which means fewer consequences for not paying debts on time. Available corporate financial information may be limited or unreliable, increasing risk. 

Without local expertise, it can be difficult to navigate business in Ivory Coast. Cedar Financial can help you reduce risks with investigative services, field visits and on-the-ground collectors familiar with the challenges of Ivory Coast debt recovery.

Contact us today to learn more about our comprehensive accounts receivable management services in the Ivory Coast. 

Economy Susceptible to External Factors

As the world’s largest producer of cocoa, coffee, sugar and cashew nuts, Ivory Coast’s largely agricultural economy is susceptible to external factors, such as weather fluctuations and price changes. 

In recent years, the Ivory Coast has been seen greater competition and falling prices in the global marketplace for its primary agricultural crops: coffee and cocoa. Compounded with internal corruption, this can make paying debts difficult for growers and exporters.

Businesses can lower the risk of extending credit in Ivory Coast with Cedar Financial. We can help you solidify your credit policies, investigate potential business partners to determine risk and manage accounts receivables in Ivory Coast. Talk to one of our Credit Risk Consultants today.

Submitting claims is fast and easy.

Litigation in Ivory Coast

While every effort is made to resolve accounts amicably, sometimes a firmer approach is needed. Here’s what you need to know about legal collections in Ivory Coast.

Court System in Côte d’Ivoire

The Ivory Coast has a civil law-based system, with three courts: 

  1. First Instance Courts – all claims not reserved for other courts and for claims exceeding CFA 500,000. In civil and commercial law matters, also the court of final appeal. Consists of commercial courts, covering commercial law disputes between merchants within the meaning of the OHADA Uniform Act, and specialized labor courts.
  2. Courts of Appeal – hear appeals of judgments issued in the first instance courts.
  3. Court of Cassation/Supreme Court – while provided for by the Constitution, not yet functional. For now, the Supreme Court has final jurisdiction on appeals in all matters where application of the provisions of the OHADA Uniform Act is not required, and the Common Court of Justice and Arbitration has final jurisdiction where it is required.

Once a summons is issued, the defendant must appear at the court within 8-15 days. 

Written documents are admitted as evidence. There is no equivalent to the common law concept of “disclosure”; however, the law acknowledges a claim requiring a party who refuses to exhibit evidence in its possession to disclose the evidence. 

For commercial courts, decisions must be made within three months.

Cedar Financial provides vetted Ivory Coast debt collection attorneys familiar with the legal system for the best chance of success in litigation. With no hourly fees and competitive “no win, no fee” rates, our legal collections department is unmatched by competitors. 

Contact us today to learn more. 

Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Ivory Coast

Foreign judgments can be enforced in Ivory Coast if pronounced by a competent court as final and enforceable in that country, the decision is not contrary to public policy rules in Ivory Coast, and the country reciprocates with Côte d’Ivoire.

Arbitration Under OHADA Treaty Uniform Act

The Ivory Coast is a member state of the OHADA (the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa) treaty, signed in October 1993. Arbitration is governed by the Uniform Act on Arbitration, adopted on March 1999. 

The main arbitration institution in Ivory Coast is the Arbitration Court of Côte d’Ivoire (the CACI), with the Common Court of Justice and Arbitration (CCJA) acting as permanent arbitral tribunal and supreme court of arbitration for all OHADA Member States. Both are in Abidjan. Unlike the CACI, the CCJA acts as an arbitration center, supporting and enforcement judge and appeal jurisdiction for arbitral awards. It also enforces awards throughout the OHADA area.

Arbitration agreements must be made in writing. If a valid arbitration agreement is in place without the tribunal been composed, the courts must decline jurisdiction. However, parties may obtain interim or protective measures that do not require a review of the case on the merits

Arbitration proceedings are private and must be concluded within six months, except where an extension is agreed upon by all parties.

Côte d’Ivoire is party to the New York Convention, which recognizes foreign arbitral awards between contracting states. Awards in other states may be enforced by applying for exequatur.

Recover more with top debt collection attorneys in Ivory Coast.

Quick Facts About Debt Collection in Ivory Coast

Open Invoices

Unpaid Invoice Interest Rate
Can Collection Fees be added? Generally, no.
Statute of Limitations/Prescription 4 years (general), 2 years for commercial sales

Judgments

Post Judgment Interest Rate
Judgment Expiration
Can judgment be renewed?

Local Experts in Collections

We offer on-the-ground representatives in Ivory Coast who understand the debt collection practices that work to support full recovery of your funds.

 

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FAQs About Debt Collection in Ivory Coast

Why should we ask you to collect our debts in Ivory Coast?

We have experience across the region, as well as a local network that we tap into to help us leverage our position. Upon receiving an account, our senior management meets to review the case details and outline possible debt collection approaches. Upon agreement, we enter negotiations quickly to pursue a speedy resolution. We focus on a professional, respectful approach while remaining firm with our position on our client’s behalf.

What does it cost to hire you to recover the amount due to us?

For pre-legal services, we work on a “no collection – no fee” basis, so you will only pay when your funds are recovered. For legal services, we advise our client on the recommended course of action and provide an estimate of projected costs.

Site visits, which can be conducted to help ascertain the financial state of your debtor, are also additional. Costs of a visit, which include pictures as well as a written report, vary according to the location of the debtor and the difficulty of the process, but usually run a few hundred dollars.

What is the minimum amount or number of accounts you will accept?

There is no minimum number of accounts. However, for a single claim, the minimum amount is $5,000. For a portfolio of accounts, each individual claim should be at least $500.

What type of debt do you service?

We service both commercial and consumer debt in a wide range of industries, from manufacturing to agriculture and trade. For consumer debt, the balance should be at least $5,000 and dating from within the last two years.

How long will your amicable (non-legal) debt collection process take?

The timeline for amicable debt collection varies considerably depending on the circumstances of the individual case. We have seen successful resolutions within two weeks, while more complex claims can take six months to resolve. In every situation, we push for the fastest possible resolution to your claim.

What is the typical debt collection process?

We start with an initial investigation into the debtor’s registration and credit information. Once the initial demand has been sent, we follow up with phone calls and try to set up a face-to-face meeting where we can discuss the issues at hand and work on finding common ground. If all efforts do not lead to payment, we may suggest a legal filing. We will never suggest litigation if we feel it will not be productive.

What is the statute of limitations in Ivory Coast, for older debts?

The statute of limitations in Ivory Coast is four years. However, in the commercial sector of this region, it is often hard to locate debtors after two years of inactivity.

Do you provide field services?

Yes, depending on the size of the balance. In general, the field agent is required to take pictures of the address of the debtor and general surroundings to better assess their financial strength. If the agent meets and discusses the account with the debtor, they must also submit a picture of the debtor, as well as proof of the meeting. A full report will also be provided.

Do I need to provide documentation?

Yes, we require documentation validating the debt. While we do not require every piece of correspondence regarding your debt, it is helpful to gather as much information as you can to assist our efforts.

Do you offer litigation services if you exhaust all amicable collection efforts without recovery?

Yes, we can litigate in any of the Franco countries. In the event all amicable efforts are exhausted, our in-house legal team will conduct a thorough review of the file to determine collectability in litigation. If the file qualifies, there are upfront costs associated with travel, translation, and court costs, but we will provide estimates on a case-by-case basis before proceeding. We don’t rush to litigate but have often found that initiating proceedings has motivated debtors to reopen negotiations for non-legal debt settlement.

Are collection fees legal to be added to the balance owed?

In general, no. In legal proceedings, the court may rule that all costs associated with litigation are to be repaid by the debtor.

*The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information.

Cedar Financial