• Short Summary

    The Ivory Coast celebrated the tenth anniversary of its independence on Friday (August 7). President?

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    The Ivory Coast celebrated the tenth anniversary of its independence on Friday (August 7). President Felix Houphouet-Boigny took the salute at a parade held in Gagnoa, 185 miles (300 Kms) northwest of the capital Abidjan.

    Each year, the anniversary of independence is celebrated in a different town. This year the honour of organising the celebrations was given to Gagnoa. The town had spent four months preparing for the festivities. The highlight of the celebrations was a military parade watched by the President. The Ivory Coast has over 4,000 troops and a small air force. President Houphouet-Boigny is the country's first and only President, he was re-elected in 1965. His party -- the Parti Democratique de Cote D'Ivoire -- is the only legal political party and holds all 85 seats in the Republic's National Assembly.

    The ten years of independence for this former French-West African colony have also been ten years of continuing economic progress. The Ivory Coast is now West Africa's most prosperous nation. The prosperity of the country is due to a remarkable rise in exports -- a four-fold increase since independence. This has provided a favourable climate for foreign investment.

    As an exporting country, Ivory Coast ranks third in the world as a coffee producer, and fourth in cocoa sales. Although coffee still makes up for the largest single crop in the agricultural economy, the country has managed to free itself from a monoculture economy. Coffee now makes up only 38% of agricultural products.

    The second most valuable export is timber, and the country has become the most important trader in African timber. Abidjan port has become the largest in French-speaking Africa and it is still expanding to cope with the increased trade.

    After taking the salute at Friday's parade, the President, other officials and foreign guests, watched a display of traditional dances.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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