Abidjan is the economic capital of Ivory Coast and is the most populated West African French-speaking city. Its population at the 2014 Census was 4,707,404, which is 20% of the overall population of the country. Only Lagos, the old capital of Nigeria, surpasses it within West Africa in the number of its inhabitants. Considered the cultural crossroads of West Africa, Abidjan is characterized by a high level of industrialization and urbanization.
The city grew up quickly after the construction of a new wharf in 1931 and its designation as the capital city of the then-French colony in 1933. The completion of the Vridi Canal in 1951 enabled it to become an important sea port. In 1983 Yamoussoukro was designated as the official capital city of Ivory Coast, but almost all political institutions and foreign embassies are still in Abidjan.