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- Félix Houphouët-Boigny (1905-93) was the first president of Côte d’Ivoire. He gave this speech shortly before a September 1958 referendum on the future of French West Africa. Houphouët-Boigny outlined the country's path to independence, but also called for the preservation of strong ties with France, within a new French Community. Côte d’Ivoire became a de facto French protectorate under a series of treaties concluded in 1843-44, and a French colony in 1893. From 1904 to 1958, Côte d’Ivoire was part of the federation of French West Africa. With the passage of the 1958 referendum, in December 1958 Côte d’Ivoire became an autonomous republic within the French Community. The country became fully independent on August 7, 1960. Houphouët-Boigny served as president from 1960 until his death in 1993. As president, he favored close ties with France and the West. He opposed plans to create a West African federation, in part because he feared that the relatively prosperous Côte d’Ivoire would have to subsidize the other members of the federation.
Ministry of the Interior, Information Service, Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire
Title in Original Language
Discours prononcé par M. Houphouet-Boigny, ministre d’État, au Stade Géo-André à Abidjan, le 7 septembre 1958
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