Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire must develop closer and stronger economic ties for regional prosperity.
He said the two West African nations must pursue this within the ambit of regional integration agreements like ECOWAS and the African Continental Free Trade Area.
“These integration agreements must be seen as an opportunity that goes beyond trade but one that helps to deepen regional value chains,” Mr Osinbajo stated at the second session of the Nigeria-Cote d’Ivoire Bi-National Commission on Saturday in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
“Instead of exporting raw commodities, we should put in place arrangements that enable value addition within and between our countries so that we can create the much needed jobs for our young people and stem the irregular migration to other parts of the world where they are often mistreated and used for menial tasks,” the vice president added.
Mr Osinbajo also expressed his appreciation to Cote d’Ivoire for lending its support to Dr Akinwumi Adesina, and Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, both Nigerians, in attaining their present positions.
Mr Adesina and Mrs Okonjo-Iweala are the President of the African Development Bank(AfDB) and Director-General of the World Trade Organisation(WTO) respectively.
“I cannot end without expressing particular appreciation to Cote d’Ivoire for the support given to Adesina which enabled him to obtain a second term in office as President of the AfDB which is located here in Abidjan.
“Similarly, I must also thank the leadership of this country for standing behind the candidature of Okonjo-Iweala who, thanks to support from Cote d’Ivoire and the rest of Africa, is now Director-General of the World Trade Organisation,” he said.
He said that the Nigeria-Cote d’Ivoire Bi-National Commission had come to stay and urged senior officials and experts on both sides to work assiduously to implement the agreements while ensuring that future sessions were held more regularly.
The vice-president said he looked forward to the next session of the Bi-National Commission that would be hosted in Abuja in 2023 at a mutually convenient date.
The vice president commended the government of Cote d’Ivoire for successfully hosting the second session.
“I express once again my profound appreciation to my Co-Chair, Achi, as well as the government and people of Cote d’Ivoire for the successful hosting of this second session of the Binational Commission between our two countries.
“Nigeria values its close ties with Cote d’Ivoire and we look forward to the further deepening of ties arising from the outcomes of this meeting,” he said.
On his part, the Ivorian Prime Minister, Patrick Achi, said that Nigeria has the capacity to explore and add value to the abundant raw materials in Cote d’Ivoire.