Abidjan is the economic and former official capital of Ivory Coast, while the current capital is Yamoussoukro. 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, but before Montreal. 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 Lagos, the former capital of Nigeria, has a larger number of inhabitants in this 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 nation's capital, but most government offices and foreign embassies are still in Abidjan.