Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has stated that Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire must continue to build closer economic ties to create more jobs for youths of both countries.
Osinbajo also said this move would help stem the massive migration of youths to other countries.
According to a statement by Laolu Alande, his spokesperson, Osinbajo said this on Saturday in Abidjan, the Ivorian capital, at the second edition of the Nigeria-Cote d’Ivoire bi-national commission meeting, which he co-chaired with Ivorian Prime Minister Patrick Achi.
At the meeting, both countries signed a set of new agreements which cover agriculture, digital economy, education, consular and immigration matters, prevention of human trafficking, among others.
“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,” Osinbajo said.
Highlighting the significance of the bi-national commission meeting, the vice-president said it was an opportunity to further strengthen and diversify both countries’ bilateral ties.
“Our shared values of democracy, protection of human rights and our aspirations for peace, progress and prosperity must continue to be the guiding principles for our cooperation for mutual benefit and for the well-being of West Africa,” he said.
“In agriculture, for instance, Cote d’Ivoire is a leading producer of key commodities like cocoa and coffee, which are crops that Nigeria also produces, and there is certainly great scope for learning and collaborating in the international trade of these commodities.
“In the same vein, given the large number of Nigerians who have made their home here, it is important that both countries cooperate closely on consular matters. We must also work closely together to tackle the evil practice of human trafficking which seems to be on the rise in this sub-region.”
Osinbajo added that as two of the largest economies in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire are duty bound to cooperate in the interests of its citizens and the rest of the sub-region.
“Furthermore, we look forward to closer military cooperation between our two countries so that working together, we can help to maintain the peace and security of our countries and neighbourhood. With peace, businesses will thrive; so we are very much looking forward to the convening of the business forum leg of this bi-national Commission,” he said.
“In this regard, it is my sincere wish that the holding of the business forum will lead to the establishment of a Nigeria-Cote d’Ivoire Business Council.”
The vice-president also thanked Cote d’Ivoire for lending its support for the candidacy of two Nigerians — Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina for a second term in office as president of the African Development Bank (with head office in Abidjan), and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
In his remarks, Achi said he was excited that both countries had agreed to reactivate the bi-national commission.
He said the meeting was an ideal platform to improve the quality of trade cooperation between both countries and the ECOWAS region, as this would also address common interests and challenges in areas of security, oil and energy, and terrorism.
The Nigeria-Cote d’Ivoire bi-national commission, which was established in 2013, is a reflection of the relations that exist between the two countries.
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