President Felix Houphouet-Boigny on sunday (7 december) led celebrations to mark the fifteenth anniversary of independence in Ivory Coast.
President Felix Houphouet-Boigny on sunday (7 december) led celebrations to mark the fifteenth anniversary of independence in Ivory Coast. This year's festivities took place in the central town of Dimbokro, 260 Kilometres ( 155 miles) north of the capital, Abidjan, and were among the most prestigious since France withdrew from the country in 1960.
Celebrations actually began the day before with a commemoration ceremony at the city's military cemetery, the inauguration of a new textile factory and a soccer match between two top Ivory Coast teams, the Stella-club and Abidjan A.S.E.C.
Highlight of the day on sunday was a mass march-past by representatives of Ivory Coast's armed forces, women's organisations and youth groups. President Houphouet-Boigny reviewed the parade through Dimbokro city centre in the presence of foreign and local dignitaries.
The march-past was followed by a procession of elaborately decorate floats depicting the advances made in agricultural during Ivory Coast's fifteen years of independence. Despite liberal economic policies and the expansion of industry, farming still plays a crucial role in Ivory Coast's economy.
For president Houphouet-Boigny, the celebrations held a particular significance. He has led Ivory Coast since it became independent, and -- at the age of 70 -- has recently been elected unopposed for his fourth, and possibly final, term of office.