Envoy, Minister upbeat on strengthening Nigeria-Cote d’Ivoire bilateral relations



The Nigerian Ambassador to Cote d’Ivoire, Martin Adamu, and the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Maryam Katagum,  have expressed optimism on improved relations between Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire.

The duo spoke with the News Agenccy of Nigeria (NAN) at the sidelines of  the high level segment of the Second Session of the Nigeria-Cote d’Ivoire Bi-National Commission on Saturday in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.

Adamu told NAN that the goal of the meeting was to reactivate existing agreements.

He said that the volume of trade between both was sketchy as it was largely informal.

“This bilateral commission was instituted in 2013 by then President Goodluck Jonathan and President Alhassane Ouattara, and they felt at that time, it was high for both countries in the spirit of African brotherhood, took their relations to the next level.

“What is happening here today is the 2nd edition; unfortunately, it was meant to take place some years back but because of COVID-19, it was delayed, but finally we have come to the fruition of the 2nd edition of it.

“The vision, in this case, is to strengthen the existing agreements between us and also to bring them up to date; wherever there were lapses and issues that are now moribund should be revitalised.

“On the volume of trade between both countries, that is very difficult one to determine because trade between both countries is largely informal.’’

According to him, the binational commission is very important because it seeks to encourage private sector participation.

“And in that way, when the trade is formalised, then you will begin to have statistics and then you can determine what the volume of trade is between both countries,’’ he said.

On her part, Katagum said that Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire had very good economic relations but the balance of trade had been largely in Nigeria’s favour.

According to her, Nigeria imports items like cocoa, coffee and beauty products from Cote d’Ivoire while they import Nigeria’s crude oil, refine and sell off refined oil to us.

“Because our economy has been largely diversified under President Muhammadu Buhari, we are looking at areas to establish value chain and one of the key decisions at this meeting is to encourage the organised private sector to come in.

“See how they can establish value chains whether in terms of commodities and in effect also have a kind of business council because when we are able to set up the business council, that’s when business to businesses will talk to themselves and be able to identify what areas.

“In fact, just now, the meeting we went for, there is a bit of concern that countries from other regions are coming here and making an incursion; why not Nigeria, because we share more in common with Cote d’Ivoire than countries that are very much farther away,’’ she said.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the Ivorian Prime Minister, Patrick Achi, signed agreements on various levels of cooperation at the meeting. (NAN)