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Ambassdor's Speech at the World Business Club ‘Economic Forum 2021’

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Excellency Felix Anoble, Minister for Promotion of SMEs

President Organizing Committee of the WBCF 2021.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen.


I am honoured to be present here at the launching ceremony of the Economic Forum 2021 being organised by World Business Club, Abidjan.


At the outset let me congratulate the World Business Club Abidjan for organizing this programme. I understand that World Business Forum is created by Ivorian’s student who studied in India, to promote investment into west Africa. Event like this would certainly uplift our spirit, light up our business environment in these difficult times. The fact that this event is taking place at all now is a reflection of the energy, entrepreneurship, commitment and the great mobilizing capacity of the World Business Forum, Abidjan.


Today, we are meeting in the shadow of the greatest shock to the international system since the World War II. The world is going through the dark Covid-19 clouds a catastrophic health disaster, the consequences of which are yet to be fathomed. The wide spread of the coronavirus pandemic had resulted in bottomless economic fallouts following zero economic activity, disruption of supply chains networks, falling global demands, supply gluts leading to price fall, loss of trust and confidence and fear of gloomy future. The loss of more than three million lives worldwide and of countless livelihoods has certainty affected, our ways of life perhaps irreversibly.


It is in this context, that I would like to compliment the initiative of WBC Abidjan, to bring light minded people for brain storming to seize   the opportunities this pandemic provides while maintaining physical distance.


As we all know that, every crisis also provides opportunity and it should not be wasted. The coronavirus pandemic has hit hard on the industries like hospitality, tourism, aviation and are severely affected if not collapsed. However, digitised businesses such as online education, video conferencing and online sales have boomed.


Scientists across the globe are working hard to provide light at the end of this dark tunnel of Covid-19 in the form of vaccines, economic recovery with hopes of return to a new normal. We are at unique cross roads of history, within this deadly pandemic, a new norm or normal way of lifestyle and work style has/ is emerging and we shall need to adopt, adapt and convert to the new normal to find that light at the end of the tunnel, albeit, with different encounters.


Like any country, India’s trade has been severely impacted. People have a sudden loss of their income, causing a major drop in demand. To rescue the economy, India has announced impressive fiscal and monetary stimulus packages.


The pandemic has made the world realize, the need for resilient and reliable partnerships, which can withstand shocks and uncertainties. India has been a reliable partner, in the global supply chain. When the need arose, India stepped up and supplied COVID vaccines & related medicines, and medical equipment to over 100 countries.


We have to learn from each other's best practices. I firmly believe, that technology will play in an important role, in the Covid and post-Covid world. Already, it is providing innovative solutions, to work, education, business, health-care and even diplomacy. The free and open exchange of ideas, information, such as this event is most apt in this regard.


The new opportunities emerging in India are very clear as India is trying to get past the COVID disruptions and integrating more intently with global value chains through the vision of “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” or “Self-Reliant India” which is actually about creating capacities at home through closer global partnerships.  This, together with India’s target of becoming a US$ 5 trillion economy as well as Cote d’Ivoire’s vision for becoming an emerging economy 2020, provides the overall strategic perspective though which our business communities must look at each other for long-term opportunities. Specially in key sectors such as Agriculture, Automobiles, ITC and Healthcare and pharmaceutical where there are complete complementarities between India and Cote d’Ivoire.