The Elephants finished second in Group D on 10 points from six matches, while Cameroon won the group on 14 points.
DR Congo beat bottom team Sierra Leone 3-1 in the other group game, but it was not enough for them to topple the Ivorians as they finished on nine points.
In Abidjan, both Ivory Coast and Cameroon played out a lacklustre match, a sharp contrast to the thrilling 4-2 home win the Indomitable Lions recorded in Yaounde in the reverse fixture in September.
Cameroon were reduced to 10 men in the 57th minute when skipper Stephane Mbia was sent off for a foul on goal-bound Gervinho at the edge of the box.
The lively Gervinho and Salomon Kalou tried to initiate several attacks for the home team, but the game generally failed to live up to expectations.
In the day’s other match, DRC fell behind to the Leone Stars after 35 minutes against the run of play, before they fought back to draw level five minutes later through Crystal Palace winger Yannick Bolasie.
The Congolese then increased their lead in the 63rd minute through Cedric Mongongu from the penalty spot after Junior Kabananga was fouled inside the box.
Bolasie then got his brace when he netted a third goal on the stroke of full time.
The Africa Cup of Nations takes place in Equatorial Guinea from January 17-February 8 next year.