Sri Lankan High Commissioner in Kenya, Kana Kananathan, held an impactful meeting with, Alassane Ouattara, the President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, at the Presidential Palace in Abidjan on October 26, 2023, marking a significant step towards enhancing the bilateral relations and fostering cooperation between Sri Lanka and Côte d’Ivoire.
The President who received the Ambassador expressed his commitment to strengthening the ties between the two countries. The President emphasized that this is a positive development in diplomatic relations between the two countries and a promising sign of strengthened ties. Ambassador Kananathan reiterated Sri Lanka’s eagerness to further engage with Côte d’Ivoire to realize the full potential of their relationship.
At the outset, President Ouattara who is an economist and previously worked for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) expressed commendation for the swift and timely effective actions taken by President Ranil Wickremesinghe to stabilize the Sri Lankan economy. Similarly, President
Ouattara mentioned to Ambassador Kananathan that he was in-charge for the Sri Lanka Portfolio at IMF, a few decades ago.
The duo reviewed the current state of bilateral relations and expressed their commitment to expanding cooperation in various sectors such as; trade and agriculture. Both acknowledged the potential for mutual benefit in these areas, recognizing the need to explore new avenues for collaboration and to create opportunities for their respective business communities. Key points discussed during the meeting included; Bilateral Relations, Strengthening Economic and Trade Ties and African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Trade Opportunities to support Sri Lankan Businessmen to start operations in Côte d’Ivoire. President Ouattara highlighted the benefits of AGOA and encouraged Ambassador Kananathan to invite Sri Lankan businessmen in the textile and Garment sectors to explore the advantages of AGOA.
AGOA offers Sri Lankan entrepreneurs to set up operations in Côte d’Ivoire, an opportunity to export garments into the United States tariff-free, presenting significant potential for Sri Lankan Businesses to expand their presence in the American market. Côte d’Ivoire is the world’s top exporter of cocoa beans, raw cashew nuts, a net exporter of oil and with a significant manufacturing sector. Côte d’Ivoire is the largest economy in the West African Economic and Monetary Union.
Kananathan expressed gratitude to President Ouattara and his government for the support to Sri Lanka in international forums.
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