Fact Sheet




15% Traditional

47% Muslim

38% Christian

29% Catholic

4% Protestant

5% Harrist & others;

There are at least 7 congregations of the churches of Christ in Abidjan.

The total membership in 1987 was about 165.




Indicators Favoring Receptivity: Recent church growth, urban growth and mobility, lack of denominational protectionism, apparently receptive audiences (youth, university squatters, new immigrants), neglected groups (business and skilled professionals, the very poor, Muslims), felt needs. According to Larry Vanderaa (1991, 38), "The country as a whole, and especially Abidjan, are dynamic places from a church growth point of view."


Area of Influence


Abidjan is the chief city in Côte d'Ivoire and the most developed city in West Africa. Abidjan impacts the entire region economically and culturally.


Total Population


2 million plus.




Almost half of the population of Abidjan is Muslim. Many of these are immigrants from Burkina Faso and Mali, but the impact of Islam on the city is unmistakable.


Denominational Protectionism.


Almost all religious groups in the country have some representation in Abidjan. In Côte d'Ivoire, these groups tend to be protective of "their own" territories, but in Abidjan itself the atmosphere is much more open.




The international, cosmopolitan nature of Abidjan with its enormous immigrant population and high number of transient residents removes most large blocks of the population from being considered members of homogeneous groups. However, kinship webs are important within the city, even though families may be geographically disjointed. Other groups include tribal guilds (members of the same tribe from a particular town or geographic area), and work, business, or merchant guilds.




Transience in Abidjan as whole is high. With the exception of the Abidji and some other Lagoon groups, the lower income areas are filled with transient people. Both Ivorians and Ghanaians continually come and go from the interior. The middle and upper classes are also have a relatively high level of impermanence. The most permanent residents are probably the highly successful (usually Muslim) businessmen.


Availability of Scriptures


The Scriptures are available in several French translations and in several Ivorian vernaculars, but there is no translation available in Dioula (Jula), the primary African trade language.


Expectations of Government.


The Church of Christ is not registered in Côte d'Ivoire, but missionaries are currently living in Bouaké and Dabou without registration. Officials in each of the cités determine the degree to which the church is allowed to operate openly.


For further information see Philip D. Palmer, "Prospectus: Abidjan, Ivory Coast," September 1987, available in the A.C.U. Missions Dept.