Cote D’Ivoirie, the world’s largest producer of cocoa, on Wednesday sought investment from India’s private sector, particularly in processing the main ingredient in chocolates, to further strengthen trade ties with India.
President of Cote D’Ivoirie Alassane Ouattara expressed interest in Indian private sector investment during his talks with President Pranab Mukherjee, who is on a two-day trip to the West African country as part his three-nation Africa tour.
“Ivory Coast Government is very keen to get Indian private sector on board...Another sector he was proudly mentioning was that of chocolates. They produce cocoa. He says that Indian private sector could be useful as they export everything,” secretary (Economic Relations) Amar Sinha said while giving details of the talks between the two leaders to reporters.
Cote D’Ivoirie leads the world in production and export of the cocoa beans used in the manufacture of chocolate, supplying 33% of cocoa produced globally.
Sinha also said as per figures in January this year, the trade between the two countries stood at around $841 million and would have touched $1 billion till March 31.
In one of the important agreements signed, Exim Bank is going to re-open its office in the African country. It was shifted in 1992 to Sudan because of political turmoil in the country.
Headquartered in Mumbai, the bank signed a ‘Headquarter Agreement’ which will give it some privileges.
Mukherjee also raised the issue of reforms in the UN Security Council and said change is a must, Sinha said.
Ouattara told Mukherjee it was an honour that he took time away from his busy schedule to visit his country and expressed regret that he could not come to India during the India-Africa Forum Summit last year because of elections.
Mukherjee extended an invitation to Ouattara, asking him to visit India anytime, Sinha said.
This is the maiden visit of the Indian President to “home of hospitality” Cote D’Ivoirie and is seen as India’s outreach to Africa. Mukherjee’s visit comes close on the heels of Vice President Hamid Ansari’s trip to Morocco and Tunisia.
Cote D’Ivoirie also known as Ivory Coast, a francophone country, is also the biggest producer and exporter of cashew nuts to India which procures nearly 80 per cent of its total exports of cashew nuts.
The country had gone through a period of turmoil in the last decade due to civil war but its development can be seen from modern expressways crisscrossing the lush green countryside.