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Cote d’ Ivoire wants more trade with Nigeria –Envoy

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Mr Kalilou Traore, Ambassador of Cote d’Ivoire in Nigeria, on Wednesday, in Abuja, said that his country was increasingly interested in strengthening trade and investment with Nigeria.

Traore said this at the launch of the Made-in-Nigeria Products Exhibition scheduled for April 24 to April 30 in Cote d’Ivoire.

While recognising various cooperation agreements signed between the two countries, Traore said that there was need to transform them into concrete business actions.

“Cote d’Ivoire is increasingly interested in strengthening trade and investment with Nigeria, in particular because of the dynamism of our economies and also of the regional and continental market zone.

“We believe that the platform `Made-in-Nigeria’ could become one of the important instruments for strengthening economic exchange between the two countries.

“I am happy to recognise the excellent cooperation between Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria. The two countries have cooperation agreements in several areas.

“On Nov. 2021, Abidjan hosted the inter-governmental meeting with Nigeria within the framework of the bi-national commission agreement.

“During this meeting the authorities of the two countries took stock of their cooperation and signed many cooperation agreements.

“Now, we have to transform all these agreements into concrete business actions and partnerships, such as the platform of Made-in-Nigeria Exhibition in Abidjan,” Traoure said.

He further said that more of such exhibition was critical in increasing the volume of trade between Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire.

“As a reminder, trade between Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria represents approximately $1.4 billion dollars, mainly in petroleum.

“The significant potential of trade in industrial products and services between the two countries remains to be filled with regard to the production and consumption capacities of the countries.

“This should be within the framework of the regional common market, and also of the continental market which is being set up,” he said.

On his part, the Executive Director of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Dr Ezra Yakusak, emphasised the need to embrace non-oil exports in diversifying the economy.

Represented by Mr Babatunde Falake, Director, International Export Office, NEPC, Yakusak said that the Cote d’ Ivoire market presented huge potential for Made-in-Nigeria products.

According to him, with the signing of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), Nigeria cannot but optimise the opportunities in the West African market and Africa at large.

Yakusak said “ECOWAS, which had an estimated population of over 350 million with a GDP of 1.48 trillion dollars and high untapped potential was a budding market in which the presence of Nigerian entrepreneurs has not yet been effectively felt”.

The convener of the exhibition, Mr Silvester Ejarkaminor, said that the exhibition aimed at providing opportunities to Nigerian exporters to explore the Ivorian market. and increasing non-oil exports

According to him, Nigeria needed to have a grip of the West African market in the background of the AfCFTA.

“Let us trade together the more; we should also talk more because you cannot do business with people you don’t talk with,” he said.

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Ikenna Uwadileke

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