Abidjan, which was initially a coastal fishing village, developed economically after constructing the Vridi Canal in 1951. The canal connecting the port and the lagoon sealed many economic and commercial changes, making Abidjan a major trading seaport for European inland goods. This development also led to tremendous growth in the city's population, which doubled up after the erection of the canal.
A developing country, Ivory Coast's primary source of income comes from its export of coffee, cocoa, and timber. But a significant drought in 1983-1984 and reduced prices of these crops led the country into economic turmoil. The country has tried to eliminate its dependency on agriculture by diversifying into other sectors, yet 60% rely on agriculture.
The people of Abidjan have benefited from the Urban Master plan, which has failed in many other African countries. But the migration from rural areas and poor neighbouring countries continue to bend the city's economy.
Abidjan's strong points remain its sound transportation system and an excellent road network.
Abidjan is located on the Ébrié Lagoon, and industrial and sewage waste disposal has polluted the lagoon. Even if the city's drainage system is considered among the best, it cannot keep pace with the city's growth.
To reduce pressure on Abidjan's economy, the political decentralization program was started in the 1980s. The program included the creation of medium-sized towns with modern facilities to lure youngsters away from the city. The decision of shifting the capital to Yamoussoukro has also been a part of this plan. But even today, Abidjan's prominence in the economic and commercial sector is much more than Yamoussoukro.