Félix Houphouët-Boigny was the first president of Côte d'Ivoire, from 6 August 1960 until his death in office. He was a relatively paternal ruler who helped bring a sound economy and political stability to the country. Closely tied to US interests in the Cold War, Houphouët-Boigny severed ties with the Soviet Union in 1969 (they were rekindled in 1986), and refused to recognize China. Towards the end of his rule, conditions started to deteriorate, and rumors spread about the diversion of funds to private accounts. After Houphouët-Boigny's death, the country rapidly became unstable, suffered a couple of coup d'etats before civil war erupted in 2002.
Also see Quotes by Félix Houphouët-Boigny.