Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire move to deepen economic cooperation

Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire are set to adopt new measures to bring about effective collaboration between the public and private sectors to ginger trade and deepen economic cooperation.

This is in a renewed effort to significantly change the face of economic cooperation between both countries.

This was part of the communique issued at the end of the 2nd Nigeria-Cote d’Ivoire Bi-National Commission held in Abidjan, where nine MoUs were signed on Saturday.

A statement issued by Laolu Akande, spokesman to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Sunday informed that while giving his closing remarks at the session

Osinbajo, noted such cooperation will enhance growth and economic development in both countries.

It said one of the highlights of the new approach is leveraging each country’s comparative advantages for mutual economic benefits, ensuring their private sectors access new commercial and economic opportunities in their markets, within the sub-region and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Osinbajo said: “We expect that this cooperation between our Governments will also extend to the private sector. It is pleasing to note in this regard that the Ivorian authorities also share this same view. We are agreed that it is such close and beneficial ties between the private sectors of both countries that will drive the growth, progress and prosperity needed to boost trade, create jobs and provide a decent life for our people and, indeed, the entire sub-region.”

The statement recalled that, at the Bi-National Commission meeting, both countries signed a set of new Agreements which cover Agriculture; Digital Economy; Education; Consular and Immigration Matters; and prevention of Human Trafficking, amongst other very important areas of collaboration.

It said Osinbajo on behalf of the Nigerian government, appreciated the Ivorian government for its positive disposition towards the negotiations and the outcomes achieved.

He also thanked the Ivorian Prime Minister, Patrick Jerome Achi, for his excellent leadership in hosting and co-steering the 2nd session of the Bi-National Commission to a successful outcome.

The statement quoted Osinbajo as saying: “Your opening remarks were very important for setting the tone and in ensuring that we achieved our objectives today.

“I am especially grateful to His Excellency, President Alassane Ouattara, for granting me and my delegation audience earlier this afternoon and for giving both sides very insightful guidance on how we could continue to deepen the strategic and close cooperation between our two countries.”

“They will certainly go a very long way to promoting the much desired and mutually beneficial cooperation between our two countries in accordance with the guidance given to us by both President Muhammadu Buhari and President Ouattara.”

The Vice President further stated that “a Bi-National Commission like this one signals that our bilateral relations extend across the entire spectrum of political, economic and social cooperation.

He noted that “the deliberations and exchange of views at this Bi-National Commission have helped to clarify any lingering issues in various areas of cooperation.

“Such cordial and extensive interactions will certainly serve as a model for promoting bilateral relations in the African continent.”

The communique also affirmed cooperation between both countries in tackling security challenges through training, intelligence and information sharing, and also combating the illicit production, manufacturing and trafficking of narcotic drugs, among others.

The Communique stated that “On the sidelines of the Second Session of the Nigeria-Côte d’Ivoire Bi-National Commission, His Excellency, Mr Patrick Jérôme Achi had a meeting with His Excellency Professor Yemi Osinbajo. Likewise, the Ivorian Senior Minister of Foreign Affairs granted audience to her Nigerian counterpart.

“The Delegation reaffirmed the strong commitment of His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and His Excellency, Mr Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, to strengthen the leading role played by the two countries in West African integration.

“On political and diplomatic matters, the Parties welcomed the good understanding and excellent political and diplomatic relations between Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire.”

With regard to Defence and Security issues, the Parties welcomed the dynamism of their cooperation through training, intelligence and information sharing. Also, in the area of Justice, the Parties undertook to initiate projects likely to strengthen their cooperation in sectors to be determined by the Parties.

Also stated in the communique was the agreement of both parties to establish a common platform to effectively combat the illicit production, manufacturing and trafficking of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors, and to address consular and migration matters.

In the area of cooperation in Trade and Economy, the Parties welcomed the dynamism of their cooperation and agreed to coordinate their efforts to strengthen bilateral trade and investment.

It emphasized the strategic position of the two countries, which enables the public and private sectors to operate in their territories in order to access commercial and economic opportunities and vast markets within the sub-regional economic groupings and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

In his remarks, the Ivorian Prime Minister, Patrick Achi, thanked Vice President Yemi Osinbajo “for his strong leadership and insightful guidance that enabled us to adopt relevant measures that will be helpful to our country and strengthen the bilateral relationship of both countries.”

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