Citizens of the Ivory Coast on Sunday (7 December) celebrated the 20th anniversary of their independence from France.
GV Boulevard Giscard d'Estaing in Abidjan with escort leading arrival of President Felix Houphouet-Boigny.
SV Dancing women and drummers (2 shots)
SV PAN President waving from car and arriving at ceremonial dais
GV Armed Forces march past. President takes salute (3 shots)
GV Women forces (2 shots)
GV Motorcyclists as president takes salute (2 shots)
SV PAN Armoured vehicles and jeeps, and crowd (3 shots)
SV PAN Heavy armoured vehicles and tanks go by. President and party watch artillery pass (4 shots)
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Citizens of the Ivory Coast on Sunday (7 December) celebrated the 20th anniversary of their independence from France. The day was a brief burst of colour and light-heartedness in a country feeling the tightening impact of the global economic recession.
SYNOPSIS: As ever, the central figure in the celebrations in the capital, Abidjan, was Felix Houphouet-Boigny, who was led the nation throughout its two decades of independence.
During this period, he has guided the Ivory Coast to the top of the salaries ladder in Africa. There's a per capita income equivalent to twelve hundred American dollars a year and that's six times as much as workers earn in the protest countries of the continent. The armed forces number just under five thousand personnel, with all but a few hundred belonging to the army. Defence in 1979 cost the country about one twelfth of its special investment budget.
After dynamic expansion during the 1970s, hard times have arrived, and are likely to stay for another two years. Economic contraction around the world has hit hard in a country that depends for sixty percent of its foreign income on commodities such as cocoa and coffee. Just before these celebrations, government sources predicted that well over a quarter of the two and a half billion dollars the Ivory Coast made from exports last year would be swallowed by debt repayments in 1980. And repayments will be even higher next year. Although unemployment is hard to gauge in the cities - as it is throughout Africa - officials have admitted it is already high, with jobs becoming even harder to get. In civil affairs however, things have improved, the country having just held its first free parliamentary elections.