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Abidjan is the economic and former official capital of Côte d'Ivoiremarker (the current capital is Yamoussoukromarker). It is the largest city in the nation, and the third largest French speaking city in the world. It has, according to the authorities of the country in 2006, 5,068,858 residents in the metropolitan area and 3,796,677 residents in the municipality. Only Lagosmarker, the former capital of Nigeriamarker has a larger number of inhabitants in this region. Considered a cultural hub of West Africa or Africa, Abidjan in the 21st century is characterized by high industrialization and urbanization. The city stands in Ébrié Lagoonmarker on several converging peninsulas and islands, connected by bridges.

The city grew after the construction of a new wharf in 1931 and its designation as the capital of the then Frenchmarker colony in 1933. The completion of the Vridi Canal in 1951 enabled it to become an important sea port. In 1983, Yamoussoukromarker was designated as the nation's capital, but most government offices and foreign embass are still in Abidjan.

Origin of the name "Abidjan"

Supposedly, when the first colonists asked native women the name of the place, the women misunderstood and replied "T'chan m'bi djan": "I've just been cutting leaves".

Population and language

A 1995 estimate placed Abidjan's population at around 2,793,000. Estimates for the population of the Abidjan metropolitan area vary between 4 and 5 million inhabitants. As Abidjan is inhabited by people from a wide array of different ethnicities, the French language is used as the language of communication in the metropolitan area, which is the third-largest French speaking metropolitan area in the world after Parismarker and Kinshasamarker . A specific colloquial Abidjan French has even appeared, with a pronunciation and some colloquial words distinct from standard French. The area of Abidjan is recognized as one of only two areas in Africa where French (colloquial Abidjan French) is truly a native tongue, the other one being Librevillemarker, Gabonmarker.

Geography and neighborhoods

Abidjan lies on the south-east coast of the country in the Gulf of Guineamarker. The city lies on the Ébrié Lagoonmarker. The business district Le Plateaumarker is the centre of the city. It lies with Cocody'marker, Deux Plateaux (the richest neighbourhood with big mansions for rich people and diplomats) and the slum area of Adjamémarker on the north shore of the lagoon, while Treichvillemarker and Marcorymarker lie to the south, Abobo-Doume and Yapougon to the west and Boulay Island 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). [758305]

History

Abidjan was the third city to be the capital of Côte d'Ivoire, after Grand-Bassam and Bingerville, which is now considered to form a suburb of the current capital. Its populace, the Tchaman, were renamed ébrié, derived from the "quolibet" given to the lagoon pirates by the inhabitants of Grand-Bassam. As such, in their language, ébrié means "salty/dirty skin".

Under the direction of engineer, Houidaille, Bingerville was created in 1899. Following an epidemic of yellow fever, the colonies of Grand-Bassam decided to relocate here because of its healthy atmosphere. This was also when the Colonial government started its relocation to the remote village of Adjamé, which would come to be named Bingerville after the first governor of the colonies, Louis-Gustave Binger.
The future Abidjan, nearby, also situated by the Lagune n'doupé (Lagoon of Warm Waters, the future ébrié Lagoon) offered more space and greater possibilities for commercial expansion. The Petit-Bassam Wharf, the current Port Bouët, south of the metropolitan area, grew rapidly in competition with the Grand-Bissam Wharf, until then the principal economic gateway for the colony. In 1904, when Bingerville had not yet been completed, Abidjan became the principal economic pillar of the Côte d'Ivoire colonies, a primary relay point for distribution of European goods further inland, notably by an increasingly important Lebanese community.

On 10 August 1933, a decree was passed, moving the capital from Bingerville to Abidjan (or Abidjean), displacing many tchaman villages, which moved mostly to Adjame, the 'confluence" or "centre" for tchaman, located north of the Plateau and which again became the chief tchaman community. It is here that the community lost the "Sacred Drum" (A very characteristic drum which is currently in the possession of the Musée de l'Homme - the Museum of Man) as currency of blackmail, to force Tchaman participation in the construction of the Abidjan-Niger Railway system.

South of the Plateau District, currently the central district of the Abidjan metropolitan area, the village of Dugbeyo was moved to the other side of the Lagoon, in Anoumabo, "the forest of the dogfish", which would later become the district of Treichville in 1934, renamed in honour of Marcel Treich-Laplène (1860-1890), the first explorer of Côte d'Ivoire and its first colonial administrator, considered its founder. Where Dugbeyo once stood, today the Avenue Treich-Laplène serves as the main bus and ferry terminal, and is also the location of Avenue Charles de Gaulle, commonly called Commercial Street.

The city is designed along the usual colonial guidelines, on the basis of rather Utopian town-planning. The colonists inhabit The Plateau ("m'brato" in the Tchaman language) while the colonized people live in the north. The two zones were separated by the Gallieni Military Barracks, where the current Law Courts are located.

In 1931, the Plateau and Treichville (which became Commikro, "the city of clerks") were roughly connected by a floating bridge at the place du pont Houphouët Boigny. In this year, the first of the street addresses of Abidjan were set up. These remained in place until in 1964, at the whim of mayor Conan Kanga, they were (badly) supplemented with the American system in 1993.

In years 1940 and 1950, like Cairomarker, Tangiermarker and Istanbulmarker, Abidjan became a part of popular imagination as a nest for spies and criminals.

In 1951, the colonial authorities decided to build the Vridi Canal from the sea to the lagoon so that ships could access the port at Abidjan, causing a drop in temperature of the hot waters of the Lagoon n'doucé.
The business district of Abidjan
After independence, in 1960, the old colonial cities became administrative and business centres, as well as the Presidential seat. The southern areas of Treichville, towards the international airport and the beaches, became the district for Europeans, and the middle class Abidjanians.

The Cocody district (famous for the movie Le Gentleman de Cocody by Jean Marais) which according to colonial urban planning was to be a vast indigenous district, instead became a smart district which contained the Presidential Residence, the French Embassy, the Ivory Hotel and since 2006, the largest US Embassy in Africa.

Abidjan now entered a long phase of economic boom and huge growth which would last until the 1980s, making it the "Paris of Africa". With elegant casinos and world-class hotels, the city billed itself as the safest and most desirable tourist destination in West Africa. Its skyscraper studded skyline and fashionable shopping district became emblems of the stability and prosperity touted by the Houphouët-Boigny government and its capital-friendly pro-western policies.

Large working class zones of migrants developed between these poles, marked by precarious living conditions, feeding off the misery caused by rural migration and exploitation of sub-regional migration. It is here that the anti-French and anti-Whites riots of November 2004 were concentrated. With decline in the 1990s blamed on negligent civil servants, political infighting following Houphouët-Boigny death, and high levels of corruption, and in spite of undeniable modernization since 1980, there has been a general degradation of Abidjan's infrastructure and a growth of pollution. The 2006 poisoning of over 10,000 by foreign toxic waste dumped in the city's refuse tips is but one, extreme, example. Since 1999 the city has suffered further from the chaos and economic dislocation caused by civil war in the north, political tumult, and flight of capital.

In 1983, the town of Yamoussoukromarker became the new capital of Côte d'Ivoire under president Felix Houphouët-Boigny, who wanted to transform his native village into the Brasiliamarker of the African savannah. The new capital, an important crossroads as well as an active commercial pillar, remains eclipsed by Abidjan.

Climate

The city has a tropical monsoon climate with a long rainy season from May through through July, a small rainy season (September-November) and two dry seasons, though rain is seen even during the dry season. Abidjan is also generally humid throughout the year. During the rainy season it can rain continuously for several consecutive days, or intensely for over an hour. The rainfall is abundant, about 2000 millimeters of water per year.. The monthly rainfall varies between about 40 mm and 500 mm in January to June and the temperature is almost constant at around 27 degrees celsius. The degree of humidity reaches 80.

Demographics

The figures as of 2006 estimate the abidjanaise population at 3,796,677. In 2006 the metropolitan area of Abidjan had 5,060,858 inhabitants. This increase in the population can be attributed to the displacement caused by the war (since September 2002). This city has many inhabitants who come to live downtown because they seek employment and safer lodgings.

Demographic evolution
1920 1946 1970 1978 1998 2003
1,000 48,000 500,000 1,200,000 3,125,890 3,660,682
Numbers since 1920: Population without duplication
Abidjan Centre
By 1950, Abidjan had just exceeded a population of 50,000 (at the end of 1948). Reaching a population of a million by the end of the year 1975, the city grew at a rate of 10 to 12 % a year: a doubling every 6 or 7 years. But this growth underwent a sharp decline due to the crises of the 80s and 90s. In the last 20 years of the 20th century the growth rate dropped to 6%. Growth by birth rate was supplemented by migration, with the influx being substantial and the outflow only partly compensating the arrivals. Positive migration, prior to the census of 1988, contributed a growth of about 80,000 with 50,000 people from within Côte d'Ivoire, and about 30,000 from abroad per year. From within Côte d'Ivoire, the migration pattern was dominated by Akan (South-east, 48%), then Mande (North-west, 24%) and Krou (South-west, 20%). From abroad, the migration was Burkinabes (30%), Malians (22%), Ghanaians (19%), Natives of Nigermarker (11%), Guineansmarker (9%). It should be noted that of the Non-African migration, Lebanese migration exceeded that of Europeans, with the French being largest of these. All in all, Non-African migration represents hardly 3% of the total population of Abidjan, which is still the highest in the area.

Politics

Administration

Organisation

Formerly managed by the French "colonial administration", divided into administrative areas by lagoons Abidjan became a municipality in 1956. Its first municipal council was elected on 18 November 1956 and the first mayor in the context of the Framework Law of 1956, was president Félix Houphouët-Boigny. A law of 1978 established twenty-seven municipalities full year in the country. After the application of this new organization, Dioulo Emmanuel was elected mayor of Abidjan on 30 November 1980.

List of successive mayors
Date of election Name Party Background Status
1956 Félix Houphouët-Boigny PDCI-RDA Politician Elected
Antoine Filidori Industry Appointed
Jean Porquet Industry Appointed
Antoine Konan Kanga PDCI-RDA Politician Appointed
1980 Emmanuel Dioulo PDCI-RDA Politician Elected
1985 Mobio N'Koumo PDCI-RDA Politician Elected


Since 2001, the city has been run as a department with 10 municipalities and three new sub-prefectures Anyama, and Songon Bingerville. The post of Mayor of Abidjan was replaced by the District Governor, appointed by the head of state. The position is currently occupied by Pierre Djedji Amondji since 2002. However, each of the 10 municipalities of Abidjan has its own municipal council headed by a mayor. The last municipal elections were held in March 2001.

Commune Mayor Political party
Abobomarker Adama Toungara RDR
Adjamémarker Youssouf Sylla RDR
Attécoubé Danho Paulin PDCI-RDA
Cocodymarker Jean-Baptiste Gomont Diagou FPI
Le Plateaumarker Akossi Noel Bendjo PDCI-RDA
Yopougon Gbamnan Djidan Jean Félicien FPI
Treichvillemarker François Amichia PDCI-RDA
Koumassimarker N'Dohi Yapi Raymond PDCI-RDA
Marcorymarker Marcellin Akanda Assi FPI
Port-Bouëtmarker Hortense Aka-Anghui PDCI-RDA


Abobo, Adjamé, Attécoubé, Cocody, Plateau and Yopougon are located north of the lagoon Ebrie (hence the name "Abidjan north). This is the continental part of Abidjan.

Treichvillemarker, Koumassi, Marcory and Port-Bouet in Abidjan are south.

Blokosso and Locodjro villages are included within the city and who maintain cultural identity in urban areas.

Places of interest

Le Plateau, Abidjan


The University of Abidjan, several technical colleges, and the national library and museum are in the city.

Sights in Abidjan include St Paul's Cathedral, designed by Aldo Spiritom, the Cocody Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art and the Parc du Banco rainforest reserve. Le Plateau is known for its skyscrapers, unusual in West Africa.

Le Plateau is the business centre of Abidjan. With its gleaming skycrapers, chic boutiques and outdoor cafes, le Plateau is a favourite place of business travellers. There are many different banks located in the le Plateau district.

Economy

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.

Industry

Major industries include food processing, lumber, automobile manufacturing, and the manufacture of textiles, chemicals, and soap. There is also a large oil refinery. Kalys Engineering (www.kalysengineering.com), an US based company presided by an ivorian is initiating a homegrow business in Civil Engineering,Environment and the production of Clean Energy from biomass and Municipal Solid Waste. In the nearly year, Kalys Engineering, in partnership with Groupe Eoulee and US world class companies, will get the Akouedo landfill in the production of the Electricity and /or bio-fuel from an average of 1000 tons/day garbage dumped over 3000 tons/day generated by the town of Abidjan.

Transportation

Trains on the line to Ouagadougoumarker run from several stations in the city, the most important being in Treichville. Ferries link Treichville, Abobo-Doumé and Le Plateau. Felix Houphouet Boigny International Airport[758306] serves the city.

Culture

The musical group Magic System were founded in the city in the 1990s.

Sports



Association football is one of the most popular sports. Abidjan is home to the ASEC Mimosas football club, one of the country's leading clubs followed by Africa Sport National. It is an important academy for nurtuting talented young players in the country and is one of the most important in west Africa in this respect. Notable players who developed at the academy include Kolo Touré, Aruna Dindane, Salomon Kalou, Didier Zokora, Yaya Touré, Emmanuel Eboué, and Gilles Yapi Yapo, all of whom are now based in top-flight European clubs. ASEC provided the backbone of the national team for many years, including key members of the side that won the 1992 African Nations Cup such as Abdoulaye Traoré and Donald-Olivier Sié. The city is also the home town of national team players including Zokora, Dindane, Eboué, Didier Drogba as well as Swiss international Johan Djourou.

Abidjan is the centre of Ivorian rugby, and most of the Côte d'Ivoire national rugby union team have come from here. Although the origins of Ivorian rugby go back to the 1960s and earlier, real growth came about when the paid French official Jean-Francois Turon managed to get the game adopted by Abidjan University at the turn of the 1980s, but it is Francois Dali who is seen as the father of Ivorian rugby, and his son was the national captain during the 1990s.

References

  1. http://www.statoids.com/uci.html
  2. Le français à Abidjan : Pour une approche syntaxique du non-standard by Katja Ploog, CNRS Editions, Paris, 2002.
  3. "De plus, le français est également devenu la langue maternelle de plus de 30 % des Librevillois et il est de plus en plus perçu comme une langue gabonaise."
  4. Atlas de la Côte d'Ivoire, 2 éd de Pierre Vennetier et Geneviève Daverat (1983)
  5. Températures et précipitations à Abidjan
  6. " Contacts." Air Ivoire. Retrieved on 8 October 2009.
  7. "World Airline Directory." Flight International. 30 March 1985. 33." Retrieved on 17 June 2009.
  8. Bath, Richard (ed.) The Complete Book of Rugby (Seven Oaks Ltd, 1997 ISBN 1 86200 013 3) p69


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