Abidjan is a major port city and the economic capital of Ivory Coast (Cote d'Ivoire). It is also one of Africa's most populous French-speaking cities. The city has population around 4,4 million.
Considered Africa's cultural crossroad, Abidjan is characterised by a high level of urbanisation and industrialisation. The city quickly expanded after a new dock/wharf was built in 1931, and in 1933 it was designated as the capital of the then-French colony. Abidjan City remained Ivory Coast's capital after the country gained its independence from France in 1960.
After the Vridi Canal was completed in 1951, the city also became a major seaport. In 1983, Yamoussoukro was designated as Cote d'Ivoire's official capital. However, nearly all foreign embassies and political institutions remained in Abidjan City (designated as the country's "economic capital"). The encompassing Abidjan Autonomous District (plus some city suburbs) is one of Ivory Coast's all 14 districts.
By shipping traffic volumes, Port Abidjan is ranked West Africa's largest seaport and Africa's second-largest - after Lagos (Nigeria). The containership/cargo port was opened in 1951. The largest ships dock in the Vridi Canal which has draught 15 m (50 ft).
Abidjan City is the economic centre of Ivory Coast and as well as of the inland countries Mali and Burkina Faso. The city's road infrastructure effectively increased seaport's activities as ~50% of the businesses based in Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali pass through it. Port Abidjan receives ~60% of ivory park industry. It also serves the region's oil-production (especially refining and distribution) and cargo exports (cocoa, coffee, bananas, pineapples, cashew, mango, manganese, timber).
In August 2020 was signed a contract with CHEC (China Harbour Engineering Company) for construction of the new Cote d’Ivoire Terminal - port’s second container terminal. Works started on October 5, 2020, and are scheduled for completion by the end of 2021. The new facility is adjacent to Abidjan Terminal (port's first) and both are operated by a joint venture company formed by Bollore Ports (port infrastructure operator and logistics company) and APM Terminals (The Hague Holland-based port and container terminal operator/one of the world's largest). Abidjan's new container terminal will increase seaport's annual capacity with 1,2 million TEU-containers (annually). Cote d’Ivoire Terminal covers total area 37,5 hectares (93 acres/~0,4 km2) and is well-connected with the city.