Neyo people



The Neyo people are one of the Kru cluster of peoples of the Ivory Coast.

They live in two dozen villages near Sassandra. At the time of the arrival of Europeans in West Africa, the Neyos were the inhabitants of that región, but, with a population today of only about 19,500 (, 2023), they are a tiny minority.

Neyo People

Their primary language is Neyo. They speak a language closely related to that of the Bétés and Godies, but they are closer today to the Bakwés because of geographical proximity and marital alliances.

From the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries, the Neyos served as commercial intermediaries between Europeans, who wanted slaves, rubber, and ivory, and inland African groups, who wanted copper utensils, cloth, marine salt, alcohol, and weapons.



The Neyo migrated from Liberia and first settled in the western part of Cote d'Ivoire. Fighting and warfare drove them to settle in their present location. They are located in the Sassandra sub prefecture of Cote d'Ivoire. Most of their 24 villages are along the seacoast.



Their economy is based on agriculture. They were formally fishermen but had to abandon this occupation as a result of competition with Ghanaian fishermen.



The Neyo are mostly animists. Each family worships a particular spirit which they believe protects them and assures them of good fortune. Each village also worships a particular deity. The Neyo worships a spirit as their overall deity, whom they believe protects every Neyo from drowning. There are evangelical churches among the Neyo. However, the members are mostly from other people groups.