Abidjan is the economic center and former official capital of Ivory Coast. As of 2011 it was the largest city in the nation and the third-largest French-speaking city in the world, after Paris and Kinshasa. As of 2006, there were 5,068,858 residents in the metropolitan area and 3,796,677 residents in the municipality.
Only Lagos, the former capital of Nigeria, has a larger number of inhabitants in the West African region. Considered a cultural hub of West Africa, Abidjan is characterized by a high level of industrialization and urbanization. The city stands in Ébrié Lagoon 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-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 of Ivory Coast, but most government offices and foreign embassies are still in Abidjan.