Houphouët-Boigny, Félix

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Houphouët-Boigny, Félix

(fālēks` o͞ofwā`-bwä`nyə), 1905–93, African political leader, president (1960–93) of Côte d'Ivoire. Descended from wealthy Baoule chieftains, he practiced medicine (1925–40) in Côte d'Ivoire and then entered government service. At the Bamako Conference (1946) he was elected chairman of the newly formed African Democratic Rally, subsequently a powerful force in African politics. As minister delegate (1956–57), he helped form French colonial policy. In 1958, when Côte d'Ivoire became a self-governing republic, Houphouët-Boigny was president of the constituent assembly. He became prime minister in 1959 and president of the republic in 1960. In 1990 he was elected to his seventh five-year term and for the first time with the participation of legal opposition parties. His political longevity may have been due to the relative economic prosperity induced by his policies of slow Africanization, encouragement of foreign investment, and French aid.

Houphouet-Boigny, Félix

 

Born Oct. 18, 1905, in Yamoussoukro. Ivory Coast statesman.

The son of a wealthy plantation owner, Houphouet practiced as a doctor for several years. In 1944 he organized the African Agricultural Association, which expanded to become the Democratic Party of the Ivory Coast. He was one of the initiators of the African Democratic Rally and served as its president. Houphouet became a deputy to the French constituent assembly in 1945 and served as a deputy to the French national assembly until 1959. From 1956 to 1959 he held a number of posts in the French government. In 1959–60, Houphouet served as prime minister of the Ivory Coast within the framework of the French Community. He became president of the independent republic of the Ivory Coast in 1960 and simultaneously was head of state. Houphouet was reelected in 1965, 1970, and 1975.