Diplomacy in Action: Côte d’Ivoire Ambassador Shares Insights on Collaborative Future with Nigeria

In an insightful interview, His Excellency Kalilou Traoré, the Ambassador of Côte d’Ivoire to Nigeria and the Permanent Representative of Côte d’Ivoire to ECOWAS, delves into the diplomatic landscape between the two West African nations.

Ambassador Traoré provides a glimpse into his journey, the current state of relations, and the collaborative efforts being undertaken to strengthen ties.

From economic partnerships to cultural exchanges, the interview captures the essence of the multifaceted cooperation between Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria.

Your Excellency, may we meet you?

Thank you very much for given us the embassy of Cote d’Ivoire this opportunity to talk about our country, to talk about cooperation between Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria. Am Kalilou Traore, the Ambassador of Cote d’Ivoire to Nigeria and permanent representative of Cote d’Ivoire to ECOWAS.

Can you shear with us some of your journey and experiences that made you become the Ambassador of Cote d’Ivoire to Nigeria?

Well i can say that as any Civil Servant, I use to serve my country in several positions, and the last position I had before becoming the Ambassador of Cote d’Ivoire to Nigeria was at the ECOWAS commission. I acted as the commissioner of ECOWAS in charge of private sector and industry.

As a representative of Cote d’Ivoire in Nigeria, what are the key collaboration and Corporation that you are looking to achieve?

We have a lot to develop between Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria for many reason, we are in the same geographical area, West Africa, and in this frame work, we have a lot of challenges to we face together, all those challenges targeting the issue of development, peace and security, trade, economic development, social issues, criminality issues, so we have a lot of area were we have to develop our cooperation to better face all this challenges.

How would you describe the current state of diplomatic relations between Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria, and what efforts are being made to strengthen these ties? 

We are very happy to say that the relationship between Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire right now is very-very good, our president His Excellency Alassane Ouattara has a very good relation and contact with his counterpart and brother, His Excellency, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and that use to be also the same for the past, passing president and beyond his political good relations, we have also good cooperation in different areas and I will come into details on this areas as we go on.

In your role, what do you consider to be the most significant achievements in fostering bilateral relations between Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria?

One significant achievement is the friendship between our heads of state. This is very important because they need to consult each other in regional major decisions in the frame work of ECOWAS (Economic Community of West Africa), in the frame work also of African Union as well as the United Nation. This is also very important. Beyond that, we have a strong economic cooperation for instance Nigeria is the most important economic trade partner of Cote d’Ivoire in Africa, so this is a big achievement and we want to go beyond, for them to be the most important at the world level so this are some of the achievement that we are very proud of.

Tourism is one of the most Lucrative and Thieving business in the globe right now. What is Cote d’Ivoire doing to boost its tourism sector? 

You are fully right, tourism is key, not only for economic reason but it helps people meet each other, to discover their brother and their friends and to also do business together and Cote d’Ivoire use to receive many tourist from the whole world and Nigeria also but, the tourism is yet to be more developed between Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire and this is one of the key tasks of our mission to help more and more Nigerians people to go to Abidjan, to go to Cote d’Ivoire and also help more and more Ivorian’s to come and discover Nigeria and we are very happy to say that they are very strong interest in this program and we will take the occasion of the African Cup of Nation that will be hosted in Cote d’Ivoire in January to organize many trip, many business trip and people to go to Côte d’Ivoire to participate at the African Cup and also to discover Côte d’Ivoire.

You just mentioned about Cote D’Ivoire hosting the African Cup of Nations, do you thin Cote D’Ivoire has what it takes to win the African cup of Nations Tournament?

That’s what we hope and I think all the participants’ in this tournament is preparing their team so as to win and Cote d’Ivoire, we want this tournament to be one of the best of Africa with very great fair occasion of people coming around from all the Africa to meet and to fraternize. We also want to win, we are taking all measures for that and we know that Nigeria is qualified, they are also preparing and I think it will be a very good play for all of us.

On a personal level, what is the cultural aspect Cote d’Ivoire that you will like to shear with Nigerian?

You know, actually we have many similarities in our cultures, our traditional cultures and let me tell you that we have in Cote d’Ivoire since decades, people from Nigeria. They are not only in the capital but also in the villages doing there businesses and interacting with all the societies, some are married with Ivoirians, we have a very strong interaction between the two countries, shearing the traditions of our different countries in the modern size, talking about cultural, we have a lot to learn from Nigeria for instance, the success story of Nollywood, is something that is very good for Cote d’Ivoire, we are working in other to help Ivorian business people in the Movie sector to partner with the Nigerian Nollywood Actors. We are also trying to develop between the two countries in the area of education. Many people don’t know our country, we know about European and American countries but we don’t know what is going on in our neighboring countries so we want to develop these relationship cultural cooperation cultural activities among women, youths of our different countries. We already have many Nigerian students in Cote d’Ivoire and many Ivorian students in the universities in Nigeria and it’s a starting process, we hope to scale up on it.

Your Excellency, how do you envision leveraging the potential of the African youths to contribute to the overall progress and prosperity of both Ivory Coast and Nigeria?

As I just mentioned, the youths is the future and we have to prepare for it now. We are developing programs between our countries on specific activities on youths for instance, Nigerian NYSC program is a good one, the National youth Service, we are preparing a mission from Cote d’Ivoire to come and see this experience and how we can also take benefits from this experience to develop, because we have our own National activity on that, the agencies will collaborate and shear their experiences so we are developing those kind of program and education on national youth services and other trips during holidays, school holidays so young people from here can go to Cote d’Ivoire and visit themselves. We have the response ability to prepare the youths to take their responsibility in this world that is becoming more and more difficult to manage.

Your Excellency, what would you like to point out to conclude this interview?

We think that the potential between Nigeria and Cote D’Ivoire is so high that we have a lot to do. You know Nigeria is the biggest country in Africa in economy and population and Cote d’Ivoire also is the biggest Francophone country in Africa so we have a lot to shear. Our work is now to try and identify different areas to go further. We would have next year the bi-national commission between Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria that is a location for our government authorities to meet and evaluate our cooperation agreement that have been already signed and also to sign new agreements on new areas. We are preparing strongly on this activity. The last thing I want to say is again on the African Cup of Nation, we invite all the Nigerian people to come and participate in this event in Cote d’Ivoire. We know that everybody will not be able to go to Cote d’Ivoire but the embassy will organize here in Abuja, Lagos and some other areas, fan zones and viewing centers to come and participate at this important tournament and I hope that the final will be between Nigeria and Cote D’Ivoire.

Thank you very much your Excellency for your time

Thank you very much.

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