Serving as the capital from 1933 until 1983, Abidjan is the biggest and most important city of Cote d'Ivoire. With a population of around 4,000,000 people, it is the second largest city in West Africa after Lagos and has historically been the economic power base of the region. Following the death of long term president-for-life Felix Houphouët Boigny in 1993, the fortunes for Abidjan changed a great deal and successive coup d'etats in Cote d'Ivoire caused a massive exodus of the foreigners living there. Today, despite the current political issues in Cote d'Ivoire at large, Abidjan remains the economic and de facto capital of the country. Even after everything that's happened, it still boasts a large selection of restaurants, hotels, sites, and other reasons to visit. For those traveling through West Africa, it is a must-see city with one of the liveliest night scenes to be found for 1,000 kilometers.
A cultural crossroads of West Africa, Abidjan is characterised by a high level of industrialisation and urbanisation. The city expanded 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 Côte d'Ivoire 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. The Abidjan Autonomous District, which encompasses the city and some of its suburbs, is one of the 14 districts of Côte d'Ivoire.