Abidjan: Cote D'Ivoirie today sought investment from India's private sector particularly in cocoa processing to further strengthen its 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 Western African country as part his three-nation African 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.
He also said as per figures by January this year, the trade between the two countries stood at around USD 841 million and would have touched USD one billion till March 31.
In one of the important agreements signed, Exim Bank is going to re-open its office here. It was shifted in 1992 to Sudan because of political turmoil in the country.
Headquartered in Mumbai, the bank signed a 'Headquarter Agreement' which wil give it some privileges.
Mukherjee also raised the issue of reforms in the United Nations security council and said change is 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 India-Africa Forum Summit last year because of elections, he said.
Mukherjee extended invitation to Ouattara, asking him to visit India anytime, he added.
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 of Morocco and Tunisia.
Cote D'Ivoirie also known as Ivory Coast, a francophone country, is the biggest producer and exporter of cashew nuts to India which procures nearly 80 per cent of their total exports of cashew nuts.
The President's arrival coincided with rains which is considered a good omen by the locales.
"When a guest comes with rain, it is the most auspicious occasion in our country. The second line of our national anthem says our country is a home of hospitality," said Brice, a local.
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.