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Speech of Ambassador H.E.Mr. Sailas Thangal at India- Cote d'Ivoire Business Forum on 27 June 2019

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         Excellency HE Excellency Mr Essis State Secretary & MD CEPICI, Madam Meena Varma General Manager EXIM Bank of India, Mr Philip Pango DG VITIB, Pushpesh Resident Manager EXIM Bank, Captains of Industry from India and Cote d’Ivoire. Good afternoon and welcome to India-Cote Business Forum.

It is an honour for me to be addressing this distinguished gathering of captains of industry & entrepreneurs from India and Cote d’Ivoire. At the outset let me take this opportunity to thank the Cote d’Ivoire CEPICI, Ministry of Commerce & Industry. I also pay my highest respect and gratitude to individuals and organisations that has been working and contributing to concretise the Cote d’Ivoire-India friendship and cooperation.

India and Cote d’Ivoire are separated by geography but have common history, aspirations and converging views on many international issues. India and Cote d’Ivoire have complementarities in their economies and this have provided great opportunities for win-win cooperation. Indian business also has comparative advantage to start their operation in Africa. I say this because Indians are not a new entrant in this entire continent of Africa. Indian workers, professionals, and traders have long been travelling to & fro, settled in vast swathes of Africa, over the last two centuries. More over since the independence of India from colonial rule as did many Africa countries, our relationship was driven & nurtured by south-south cooperation.

 India has forged a unique development partnership with Africa based on African priorities driven by their African needs. The focus of India’s development partnership is to build human resource development and capacity building in Africa. India has extended development assistance worth $ 7.4 billion through lines of credit given by the EXIM bank. Of this $6.8 billion has been approved and about $3.5 billion, nearly half, has been disbursed. These lines of credit have led to the completion of 137 projects in 41 countries across Africa. We inaugurated one today in Grand Bassam.

Africa as a continent including Cote d’Ivoire is increasingly becoming the next theatre of global attraction and competition because of rich natural resources, young demography and scope of socio-economic development. To harness these opportunities various countries are making huge investments in the continent. Cote d’Ivoire is not an exception, in fact is one of the main drivers as it enjoyed unprecedented economic growth of 8-9% since 2011 under the leadership of President Alassane Ouattara. This growth is expected to continue as the government continue to reform its macroeconomic policies to make investors friendly coupled with rapid expansion in sectors like tourism & Hospitalities, banking & Services, IT & telecommunications, manufacturing and agriculture.

Today Cote d’Ivoire is a vibrant country with lots of young people with big dreams and aspirations. These young vibrant people are now demanding better governance, democracy, the rule of law and better life like never before. The challenge before us is whether we could join our hands and make these dreams and aspirations come to pass.

To me all of you seating here has the capability to ignite these minds and both governments have the political will and desire to help remove any stumbling block that may come on your way while working out win-win cooperation. There are huge opportunities for smart companies to tap this huge opportunity whether you are a retailer, whether you are a product supplier, a realty company or a software solution provider, a financier or logistic player etc.”

I would like to conclude that saying that “Cote d’Ivoire is calling and the world is responding”. My request to all business from Cote d’Ivoire & India is that take advantage of this meeting and form partnership for win-win cooperation. Embassy of India would be more than happy to cooperate/support for partnership between India-Cote d’Ivoire companies.

I Thank you all. The theme of our cooperation is shared prosperity which is geared towards addressing priority areas of our partners.