Abidjan is the economic capital of Ivory Coast and the most populous French-speaking city in West Africa. According to the 2014 Ivory Coast census, Abidjan's population was 4.7 million, which is 20 percent of the overall population of the country. Within West Africa, only Lagos, the former capital of Nigeria, surpasses Abidjan in population. Considered the cultural crossroads of West Africa, Abidjan is characterised by a high level of industrialisation and urbanisation.
The city grew up quickly after the construction of a new wharf in 1931, followed by its designation as the capital city of the then-French colony in 1933. Abidjan remained the capital of Ivory Coast after its independence from France in 1960. The completion of the Vridi Canal in 1951 enabled Abidjan to become an important sea port. In 1983, the city of Yamoussoukro was designated as the official political capital of Cote d'Ivoire. However, almost all political institutions and foreign embassies continue to be located in Abidjan. Because Abidjan is also the largest city in the country and the centre of its economic activity, it has officially been designated as the "economic capital" of the country.
|POPULATION :||4,707,404 (district); 4,395,243 (city)|
|TIME ZONE :||GMT (UTC+0)|
|LANGUAGE :||French (official), 60 native dialects with Dioula the most widely spoken|
|RELIGION :||Muslim 38.6%, Christian 32.8%, indigenous 11.9%, none 16.7%|
|AREA :||2,119 km2 (818 sq mi)|
|ELEVATION :||18 m (59 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||5°19′N 4°2′W|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: |
|ETHNIC :||Akan 42.1%, Voltaiques or Gur 17.6%, Northern Mandes 16.5%, Krous 11%, Southern Mandes 10%, other 2.8% (includes 130,000 Lebanese and 14,000 French)|
|AREA CODE :|
|POSTAL CODE :|
|DIALING CODE :||+225|
Abidjan is a unique city in Africa. Its nicknames, such as "Manhattan of the tropics", "Small Manhattan" or "Pearl of the lagoons", explain the city's unpredictable and triumphant image. With its accommodation facilities – such as the Golf Hôtel – and sporting facilities, its lively night life, transport and communication lines as well as its impressiveness, it is the perfect city for business tourism.
Abidjan also has beaches around the lagoon, with palm and coconut trees, in the Vridi area, which are very popular at weekends with the picturesque sight of the pineapple and coconut sellers. Nevertheless, the rip-tides which affects practically the whole of the Gulf of Guinea's coast, means that in this area swimming is not usually allowed.
Generally, in Cote d'Ivoire, tourism has never really been developed as an economic industry; the country does not appear among common holiday destinations.
Abidjan is sometimes referred to as the "Paris of West-Africa". During the long and stable rule of the Ivory Coast's Godfather Felix Huphouet-Boigny the city of Abidjan has flourished. However, the political instability and the civil war of the past decade have taken their toll on the city. Neglect, low maintenance of buildings and public space and the mass exodus of foreigners have given the city an atmosphere of "lost glory". Nowhere is this to be seen better than in the famous Hotel Ivoire. Entering it is like taking a trip to the sixties; since its construction there have been no significant changes or modernisation to its interior and furniture. Too bad though that its massive swimming pool has weeds growing on the bottom instead of blue waters. Very nice is the public zoo. It really is a beautiful place with loads of interesting animals for just CFA 200, well worth this small sum. Also don't forget a trip to Bassam, Abidjan's no. 1 beach.
Abidjan was originally a small fishing village. In 1896, following a series of deadly yellow fever epidemics, the French colonists who first settled in Bassam decided to move to a safer place. They located in the current location of Abidjan in 1898, and in 1903 it received town status.Their movement was followed by the colonial government created in 1899, although nearby Bingerville became capital of the French colony from 1900 until 1934.
The future Abidjan, situated on the edge of the lagoon n'doupé ("the lagoon in hot water, "future "Ébrié Lagoon"), offered more space and greater opportunities for trade expansion. The wharf in Petit Bassam (now Port-Bouet) south of the town, quickly overtook in importance the wharf of Grand-Bassam, hitherto the main economic access to the colony. In 1904, the rail terminus was located in the Port-Bouet area of Abidjan. From 1904, whenBingerville was not yet complete, Abidjan became the main economic hub of the colony of Ivory Coast and a prime channel for distributing products to the European hinterland, particularly through the Lebanese community which was increasingly important.
Henri Terrasson de Fougères became governor of French Sudan in 1924, and remained the governor until his death in 1931. One of the main streets of Abidjan still bears his name.
In 1931, Plateau and what became Treichville were connected approximately at the position of the bridge Houphouet Boigny by a floating bridge. That year, it was first addressed as the streets of Abidjan. It temporarily held the name in 1964, under the leadership of Mayor Konan Kanga, completed by the Americans in 1993.
Abidjan became the third capital of Ivory Coast, after Grand-Bassam and Bingerville in 1934. Several villages in Tchaman were then deserted. It is particularly Adjame ("center" in Tchaman), located at the north of the Plateau, which is still the leader of the Tchaman community.
South of the Plateau district (the current central district of the city of Abidjan), the village ofDugbeo was moved across the lagoon to Anoumabo, "the forest of fruit bats", which became the neighborhood of Treichville (now Commikro). This area was thus renamed in 1934 in honour of Marcel Treich-Laplénie (1860–1890), the first explorer of Ivory Coast and its first colonial administrator, considered its founder. Instead of Dugbeyo, is the current Treich Laplénie Avenue, the bus station and water lagoon buses in Plateau, and the AvenueCharles de Gaulle (commonly called Rue du Commerce).
The city was laid out like the usual colonial towns as a grid plan. Le Plateau ("m'brato" in Tchaman) was inhabited by settlers. In the north, the city was inhabited by the colonized. The two zones were separated by the Gallieni Military Barracks, instead of the current courthouse.
Near the port and along a petanque, originally named Boulevard de Marseille, facetious settlers who had "borrowed" a street sign of a famous street of Marseille renamed the street Canebière, a sand track. This is the legend behind the first Blohorn oil mills, in Cocody. A racetrack was built in the south of the city that never stops growing.
Le Plateau in the 1940s, the hotel grew and became Bardon Park Hotel, the first air-conditioned hotel working in francophone Africa.
Abidjan's lagoon became connected to the sea once the 15m deep Vridi Canal was completed in 1950. Soon Abidjan would become the financial center of West Africa. In 1958, the first bridge to connect Petit-Bassam Island with the mainland was completed.
After independence in 1960, the old settler town became the administrative center and business headquarters of the Presidency. The axis south of Treichville, towards the international airport and the beaches, became the headquarters of European and middle-class Abidjan. There, in November 2004, focus was on the anti-French riots and looting. The Cocody district, famous for a gentleman embodied in film by Jean Marais, which should be a vast indigenous district according to the colonial urban pattern, became an upscale neighborhood including the presidential residence, the embassy of France, Hotel Ivoire (which for a long time, was the only African hotel to have a skating rink), and since 2006, the largest U.S. embassy in Africa. Large areas have grown popular among these clusters, extended by areas of poor housing and poverty fed by the rural exodus and sub-regional immigration.
In 1983, the village of Yamoussoukro became the new political capital of Ivory Coast under the leadership of President Félix Houphouët-Boigny, who was born there.
Since 1999, Abidjan has suffered from the consequences of the civil war. Since the 1980s, despite undeniable improvements and because of the negligence of officials, corruption as well as general degradation of the city of Abidjan has been prevalent. In 2006, a mass poisoning of people by pollutants dumped in landfills occurred.
The city has a tropical wet and dry climate with a long rainy season from May through July, a short rainy season (September–November) and two dry seasons, though rain is seen even during these dry seasons. Abidjan is generally humid throughout the year, with humidity generally at or higher than 80 percent. During the rainy season it can rain continuously for several consecutive days, or intensely for over an hour. The rainfall is abundant at about 2,000 mm per year.The monthly rainfall varies between about 20 mm and 500 mm in January to June and the temperature is almost constant at around 27 °C (81 °F).
Climate data for Abidjan, Ivory Coast
|Record high °C (°F)||40|
|Average high °C (°F)||30.5|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||26.8|
|Average low °C (°F)||23.5|
|Record low °C (°F)||18|
|Source #1: NOAA|
|28 °C (82 °F)||28 °C (82 °F)||28 °C (82 °F)||29 °C (84 °F)||29 °C (84 °F)||28 °C (82 °F)||26 °C (79 °F)||25 °C (77 °F)||25 °C (77 °F)||26 °C (79 °F)||28 °C (82 °F)||28 °C (82 °F)|
Abidjan lies on the south-east coast of the country in the Gulf of Guinea. The city is located on the Ébrié Lagoon. The business district Le Plateau is the center of the city, along with Cocody, Deux Plateaux (the city's wealthiest neighborhood and a hub for diplomats), and Adjamé, a slum on the north shore of the lagoon. Treichville and Marcory lie to the south, Attecoube, Locodjro, Abobo Doume and Yopougon to the west, and Île Boulay is located in the middle of the lagoon. Further south lies Port Bouët, home to the airport and main seaport. Abidjan is located at 5°25′ North, 4°2′ West (5.41667, −4.03333).
The principal stock exchange of the country, the Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières (BRVM), is located in the city. Air Ivoire has its head office in Abidjan.
Prior to its dissolution, Air Afrique was headquartered in Abidjan
Major industries include food processing, lumber, automobile manufacturing, and the manufacture of textiles, chemicals, and soap. There is also a large oil refinery.
The region of the lagoons is the most industrialized region of the country.
Its industries are mainly Construction and Maintenance with the presence of major international groups: the furnace SETAO, Colas, Bouygues, Jean Lefebvre, and Swiss Holcim.
There are textile industries with the packaging of the grown cotton in the north either for export or for on-site processing of cloth, canvas, batik clothing and miscellaneous. The textile sector is very dynamic, representing 15.6% of net investment, 13% of turnover and 24% of the value added of Ivorian industry.
There are several oil wells off the coast offshore operations (Ivory Coast is an oil producing country, even if it is not self-sufficient in this area), which leads to the presence chemical industry with refineries pétrole, et un port pour hydrocarbures, and a port for oil. It also works on stones and precious metals for exportation
The city also has a large wood processing activity mainly at the port by river from the forests of central Canada. It is exported either as natural as mahogany which was already sold two centuries ago by the English Victorian or in a semi-industrialized: peeled wood, plywood, chipboard.
In the food industry mainly include: the production of oil palm, processing of bergamot and Seville oranges, processing of rubber from plantations in the west, the manufacture of beverages from pineapples, oranges and mangoes, and especially the roasting of coffee, robust type, came from the plantations of the West whose country is the third largest producer, behind Colombia and Brazil as well as packaging and processing of cocoa, including Ivory Coast's, the world's leading producer to Ghana and Indonesia. (37% of cocoa and 10% of coffee products undergo at least one first local processing). Abidjan is also the first African tuna port, and three plants condition tuna primarily for the European market. This activity generates about 3,000 salaried jobs, and is an important source of foreign exchange.
As in all countries of the Third World developing countries, much of the city's economy lies in what economists describe as informal economy with its many "odd jobs".
Abidjan is composed of two parts (northern Abidjan and southern Abidjan) with ten formal boroughs, or communes, each being run by a mayor.
Communes of Northern Abidjan
- Abobo consists mainly of public housing. Abobo has a large population of migrants with low income. However, this area has developed spontaneously.
- Adjamé developed from the village of Ébrié, which existed before Abidjan developed. Although small in size and polluted, this commune is commercially very important for the Ivorian economy. Its market contains a varied shopping district and its bus station is the Ivory Coast's main hub for international bus lines.
- Yopougon is the most populous commune of Abidjan, lying partly in Northern Abidjan and partly across the lagoon in Southern Abidjan. It is home to industrial and residential areas. The research station ORSTOM, Pasteur Institute, and a training hospital are located in this commune.
- Plateau is Ivory Coast's business center, with very modern, tall buildings. Although the governmental and administrative capital of Ivory Coast was officially transferred to Yamoussoukro in 1983, the institutions of the republic such as the Presidency and National Assembly are still located in Plateau. It is the main administrative commercial and financial center of Ivory Coast.
- Attécoubé contains Banco forest, classified as a national park.
- Cocody is famous for its residential districts Deux-Plateaux and Riviera. The University of Cocody, a public institution, and some private universities are located within the commune. Radio Television Ivoirienne (RTI) is located in Cocody. The President of the Republic resides in this commune. Cocody also contains the embassy district.
Communes of Southern Abidjan
- Koumassi: This commune has an important industrial area.
- Marcory: This commune is mainly a residential area.
- Biétry and Zone 4 are residential areas where many foreigners live.
- Port-Bouët: This commune includes a refinery (Societe Ivoirienne de Raffinage SIR) and theFélix Houphouët-Boigny International Airport. There is also an established office of the IRD, the centre of Little Bassam. The famous lighthouse sweeps the Gulf of Guinea for several nautical miles.
- Vridi: the beach area is busy every weekend although the ocean is very rough, a phenomenon widely along the Gulf of Guinea. From 1950, Vridi has become the main employment areas in Abidjan because of the increasing number of factories and warehouses
- Treichville: This commune is home to the Autonomous Port of Abidjan and many shops. The port area is also an industrial area. There is also the pool of State Treichville (PET), the palace of sports Treichville, the Palace of Culture, street 12, racetrack Abidjan.
- Île Boulay.
The main towns which are near Abidjan are Jacqueville, Grand-Lahou and Dabou in the west; Sikensi, Tiassalé, Agboville, Adzopé and Aleppo in the north; and Grand-Bassam to the east.
The towns (or sub-prefectures) of Anyama, Bingerville, Brofodoumé and Songon are within the Abidjan Department, which is co-extensive with the autonomous district.
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