President Cyril Ramaphosa being welcomed by President of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire Alassane Ouattara, at the Félix Houphouët Boigny International Airport in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. Photo: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS
President Cyril Ramaphosa being welcomed by President of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire Alassane Ouattara, at the Félix Houphouët Boigny International Airport in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. Photo: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS

Honorary citizenship, prospects of increased economic ties as Ramaphosa tours Côte d’Ivoire

By Jonisayi Maromo Time of article published Dec 2, 2021

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Pretoria - President Cyril Ramaphosa is in Abidjan, Côte d’ Ivoire, where he is leading a South Africa delegation undertaking a two-day State Visit.

Cote d’ Ivoire is the second country Ramaphosa is visiting as part of his four-nation tour to West African countries.

“The visit to Côte d’Ivoire follows a successful State visit to the Federal Republic of Nigeria on 30 November 2021, which was marked by the 10th Session of the Bi-National Commission (BNC) between Nigeria and South Africa,” said acting Presidency spokesperson Tyrone Seale.

“Accompanied by a strong ministerial delegation and business leaders, President Ramaphosa is undertaking visits to four West African states – Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Senegal – as part of strengthening bilateral relations, cooperation on the continental and global level and leveraging for mutual benefit the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area.”

Seale said Ramaphosa’s trip to Cote d’Ivoire is historic and significant in that it will be the first State Visit between the two countries since the establishment of diplomatic relations in the early 1990s.

President Cyril Ramaphosa being welcomed by President of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire Alassane Ouattara, at the Félix Houphouët Boigny International Airport in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. Photo: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS

The landmark visit comes at a time when the two countries are consolidating a list of strategic areas of cooperation across various economic and social sectors.

“The two heads of state, during their bilateral meeting on the margins of the African Economies Finance Summit in May this year, made a commitment and a call for a more amplified level of cooperation between the two countries,” said Seale.

He said as part of continued efforts to strengthen and solidify bilateral relations, the two countries identified 33 draft bilateral memoranda of understanding or agreement covering a wide spectrum of cooperation, and are at various stages of finalisation.

“As the largest economy in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and the third-largest in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) after Nigeria and Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire is a significant economy in the West Africa region,” said Seale.

He said Côte d’Ivoire presents opportunities beyond its borders as an entry point for investment and a springboard to other countries in West Africa.

President Cyril Ramaphosa being welcomed by President of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire Alassane Ouattara, at the Félix Houphouët Boigny International Airport in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. Photo: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS

On Thursday, Ramaphosa and President Alassane Ouattara were presiding over official talks before the signing of memoranda of understanding and agreement on political consultation, defence cooperation, agriculture, youth development, information and communication technologies, energy and mines, petroleum and energy and employment.

“President Ramaphosa will be presented with honorary citizenship of the Autonomous District of Abidjan. His Excellency President Alassane Ouattara will bestow on President Ramaphosa Côte d’Ivoire’s distinguished Order of the Dignity of the Grand Cross,” said Seale.

President Cyril Ramaphosa being welcomed by President of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire Alassane Ouattara, at the Félix Houphouët Boigny International Airport in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. Photo: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS

Ramaphosa will on Friday undertake a tour of the Autonomous Port of Abidjan before addressing the Côte d’Ivoire-South Africa Business Forum.

Later on Friday, the two heads of state and MTN Group Chief Executive Ralph Mupita will symbolically lay the foundation stone for the new headquarters of MTN in Côte d’Ivoire. That occasion will conclude Ramaphosa’s State Visit to Côte d’Ivoire.

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