His last job was as director of football at Notts County, who he left in February, however he has recent international experience having been boss of Mexico until being sacked in April 2009.
Eriksson led England from 2001 until 2006, twice steering the team to World Cup quarter-finals.
The Ivory Coast have been handed a difficult World Cup group draw against Brazil, Portugal and North Korea, and Eriksson has been instructed to ensure his team give an "honourable" performance.
Ivory Coast, whose team is nicknamed 'the Elephants', suffered a disappointing quarter-final exit at the hands of Algeria during the African Nations Cup at the start of the year.
That prompted the national federation - the FIF - to part company with coach Vahid Halilhodzic.
Former Real Madrid boss Bernd Schuster and former Wales and Manchester City manager Mark Hughes were both recently linked with the job, however 62-year-old Eriksson's experience worked in his favour.
A statement released on Sunday night by the FIF said: "Aware of the great expectations of our population who have taken a keen interest in the matter, the executive committee focused its choice on Mr Sven-Goran Eriksson.
"The Swede has been, among others, coach of England and Mexico. He is an experienced technician who has been proven.
"His mission is to lead our team during this World Cup, and to ensure that there is an honourable participation in a competition reserved for the top 32 football nations in the world, and it obviously will be difficult.
"Therefore, the executive committee of the FIF appeals to the sacred union between the 'Elephants' and their coach."
The FIF have not decided on the future leadership of the team beyond the World Cup, with Eriksson's appointment likely to be a short-term measure.
Ivory Coast, whose World Cup squad will include Premier League stars Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou, Emmanuel Eboue and Kolo Toure, plus a host of other players playing at a high level in Europe, had been fancied to make a big impact in the first World Cup to be played in Africa.
Their draw has lowered expectations, though. They begin their campaign against Portugal on June 15 in Port Elizabeth, before playing Brazil on June 20 in Johannesburg.
Eriksson will hope his team remain in with a chance of reaching the last 16 by the time they take on North Korea in Nelspruit on June 25.