Côte d’Ivoire to Open Economic Trade Office

Côte d’Ivoire to Open Economic Trade Office

From Business Day Live

Côte d’Ivoire will open an economic and trade office in Sandton next month, signalling that the West African country is slowly getting back to business.

Known in English as Ivory Coast, the former French colony was one of Africa’s success stories and the world’s biggest cocoa producer. But poor governance led to ethnic tension and a military coup in 1999, which propelled the country downhill to a bitter civil war from which it is only timidly recovering.

Bilateral trade limped back to about R1bn last year, five to one in South Africa’s favour. South African imports of Ivorian cocoa and cocoa-related products were dwarfed by exports of plastics, metals, machinery, electrical and transport equipment, paper, chemicals and fruit.

“The potential for growth in bilateral trade is real. I think it could grow five-fold in the next five years,” said Patrice Mallet, the head of the new economic and trade office opening next month in the Sandton Eye building.

“There is a lot of scope. At the moment there are only three sizeable South African companies in Côte d’Ivoire: Randgold, MTN and SAA,” he said, adding that equipment to revive agricultural output was in particular demand.

Mr Mallet, an Ivorian, is an economist who previously worked at the World Bank and for the Gauteng Fund in Johannesburg.

Read more at bdlive.co.za