Interview: Kandia Camara

To what extent could Côte d’Ivoire’s membership in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) strengthen trade ties?

KANDIA CAMARA: Côte d’Ivoire is working to boost the value of investment in the country from 23.1% of GDP in 2021 to 27.1% in 2025. This will factor in an increase in the private investment rate from 16.5% of GDP in 2021 to 20.5% over the same period, while public investment will stabilise at 6.6% of GDP.

The government will rely on the private sector to finance the National Development Plan (Plan National de Développement, PND) 2021-25. This means that the country must take all necessary measures to strengthen and maintain a favourable business climate for foreign direct investment (FDI). The programme aims to boost FDI from $913m in 2020 to $1bn by 2025. This will allow foreign companies to choose Côte d’Ivoire as a destination to develop their operations. While public investment will remain constant through 2025, the government will leverage the country’s large market by increasing production capacity and adopting industrial transformation strategies. These will focus on reinforcing the industrial base, developing value chains and strengthening infrastructure that supports the energy, transport, ICT and tourism sectors.

Once these goals are achieved, the country will be able to boost its export volume and become an important trading partner for countries in the AfCFTA region and beyond.

In what ways can new partnerships enable Côte d’Ivoire to increase power generation and position itself as an energy leader in Africa?

CAMARA: Between 2011 and 2019 Côte d’Ivoire energy generation capacity increased by 60%, reaching 2230 MW a year. This has allowed us to register a surplus and increase exports to countries such as Ghana, Togo, Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali and Liberia.

In order to strengthen Côte d’Ivoire’s position as a leader in energy in the region, the government has prioritised the sector in both the PND 2016-20 and PND 2021-25. Further efforts have also been made to expand energy partnerships with neighbouring countries. Major projects have been implemented to this end under the auspices of the PND 2021-25, including the construction of thermal, coal, hydroelectric and solar power plants across the country. These projects will enhance production to help the country meet growing demand from our partners, furthering our reputation as a leader.

How can diplomats and the private sector find synergies to increase exports and attract more FDI in high-value-added sectors?

CAMARA: Between 2011 and 2022 Côte d’Ivoire has relied on its diplomacy to be a strategic instrument in its efforts to attract capital and foreign investment. The ministry has been successful in mobilising FDI, as well as in supporting Ivorian companies in international markets through our targeted programmes implemented by our foreign missions.

Cooperation with the private sector is imperative to future economic growth, and in May 2021 the government signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with representatives of the private sector to collaborate in our efforts. Entities such as the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Côte d’Ivoire, the General Confederation of Businesses of Côte d’Ivoire, the Federation of Small and Medium Enterprises, and the Investment Promotion Agency have committed to working with us to leverage innovative mechanisms to increase the export of Ivorian products and services. Under the MoU, we will to jointly publish reliable information on the economy; participate in fairs, trade shows, exhibitions, forums and conferences; and organise missions of international businesses that operate in Côte d’Ivoire.