Houphouët-Boigny, Félix

Houphouët-Boigny, Félix fālēksˈ o͞ofwāˈ-bwäˈnyə [key], 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.

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