The African Continental Free Trade Area (ZLECA) and the challenges and prospects of agribusiness were at the end of the 7th edition of the Attijariwafa bank economic forum held in Abidjan.
In Margin of the last summit of the Heads of State of the African Union held in Niamey in Niger, the Africa Development Club of the Attijariwafa bank group and the Ivorian Bank Corporation organized on July 4 and 5 in Abidjan a multisectoral mission to discuss the ZLECA and Agro-industry. Thus, more than 300 business and institutional leaders, including delegations from Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo and Guinea, took part of this mission whose main theme was « agro-industry: Challenges and perspectives ». This meeting, held during the 7th edition of the Attijariwafa Bank Group Economic Forum, organized by the Africa Development Club, was an opportunity to present opportunities for companies in the agribusiness sector. industry, as well as those in the African Continental Free Trade Area (ZLECA) in the process of operationalization. Indeed, Africa represents 17% of the world population, in 2050 (25%) and in 20100 (40%). Intra-European trade (+ 69%), intra-Asian trade (+ 59%) but barely 15% to 16% intra-African trade and Africa accounts for 2%. But the continent now wants to impact the global economy. Hence the idea of setting up an African Continental Free Trade Zone. During the panel on « Local Business Strengthening Issues in a ZLECA Context » led by Ms. Fatoumata FOFANA, ZLECA Negotiator at the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and SME Promotion, Mr. Amine KITTANE, Deputy General Manager of the Ivorian Bank Corporation and Mr. Stéphane AKA-ANGUI, Executive Director of the General Confederation of Enterprises of Côte d’Ivoire (CGECI). Ivorian Minister in charge of Trade in Industry and Promotion of SMEs Souleymane Diarrasouba invited national economic operators to embark on the train of free economic exchange that is running while reminding all participants in this forum that « Africa must take all its share in the age 2063 and Côte d’Ivoire is a business opportunity and a pool of investment, a business opportunity. » For the Director of Club Africa Development, is not far from succeeding this bet. According to Mouna KADIRI in a decade of the dynamic « Africa Development », more than 10,000 companies from more than 40 countries of the continent and partner countries met, and generated more than 22,000 business meetings under the International Africa Development Forum since its first edition held in 2010. « The ground confirms the significant structuring and increase of intra-African trade, » she said.
The business meetings enabled participants to generate opportunities, particularly in the distribution, agri-food, finance and construction sectors.
Field visits organized on July 5 punctuated this mission, in particular that of the Cacao Condicaf processing plant – Côte d’Ivoire is the leading producer and the largest exporter of cocoa in the world – the new Youpougon Industrial Zone managed by the AGEDII (Industrial Infrastructure Management and Development Agency), a response to strong demand from industry, and Aérohub, a new logistics management center at Bolloré Transport and Logistics.
This economic forum was also an opportunity for Minister Souleymane Diarrassouba to explain that Côte d’Ivoire has opted for the development of agro-industry as a driver for the structural transformation of the Ivorian economy through the industrialization. With the aim of raising the conversion rate of agricultural products to 50%. Hence the importance of this sector in the industrial policy of the Ivorian government, with the promotion of the processing of agricultural raw materials including, first and foremost, that of cocoa, cashew, cotton-textile, fruits and vegetables. and sugar. « Côte d’Ivoire has opted for agro-industry as a driver for its economic structuring, as evidenced by the axis3 of the 2016-2020 National Development Plan (NDP), which focuses on industrialization », a- he said. It is therefore right that the country has an industrial policy with strategic axes accompanying the industrial economy, with cross-cutting measures and sectoral measures that focus on strengthening the incentive framework of the economy. business environment, institutional anchoring, quality improvement, the fight against counterfeiting, support for business competitiveness and the strengthening of industrial infrastructures. This is to achieve a 50% transformation of its raw materials over the next 10 years. The challenge is to provide Ivory Coast with industrial infrastructures. the country wants to have areas devoted to industrial activity. This is why work has been done to improve the industrial area of Yopougon (Km24), with about 24 billion F CFA of investment. « The availability of 940 hectares of which 62 hectares already available (59 hectares for cement), 120 hectares will be available by the year, » said the Minister of Industry. The objective is also to have poles of economic growth within the country with the help of development partners (Yamoussoukro, Bonoua, Aboisso, Bouaké, Séguéla, Bondoukou). Despite the « exceptional performance » in agriculture (the world’s largest cocoa product with more than 2 million tonnes, the leading producer of cashew nuts with more than 60 000 tonnes, the leading producer of rubber, palm oil, 3rd cotton producing country, …) « . Efforts remain to be made. Namely, the increase in the rate of transformation of agricultural material, strengthening the competitiveness of enterprises, the continuous improvement of the business environment, industrial infrastructure, improved financing of the banking sector. And according to Minister Diarrassouba, the Ivorian Government is at work to meet this challenge. As for the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Ivorian Bank Corporation (SIB), Mr. George NDIA COFFI, he recalled « the incredible agricultural wealth of Côte d’Ivoire and the challenge of the industrialization of its resources » and the structural support of the SIB in the development of the Ivorian agro-industrial sector.
Note that this meeting is the third major meeting of the year after the sixth edition of the Africa Development International Forum organized by the Africa Development Club of the Attijariwafa bank group in Casablanca on March 14th and 15th, and the launch of the Africa Development Club. Egypt with Attijariwafa bank Egypt, May 12 in Cairo.
The next multi-sectoral mission of the Africa Development Club is scheduled for next September 25 in Tunis around Agro-Industry and the Health Industry, with Attijari bank Tunis.