Presidential debate on regional integration at the AFRICA CEO FORUM 2016

On the second day of the AFRICA CEO FORUM 2016, the President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, H.E.M. Alassane Ouattara and the President of the Republic of Ghana, H.E.M. John Dramani Mahama, in a special panel discussed the place of the African economies in the world and the need to strengthen regional integration and intra-African trade.

President of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, H.E.M. Alassane Ouattara and the President of the Republic of Ghana, H.E.M. John Dramani Mahama

President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, H.E.M. Alassane Ouattara and the President of the Republic of Ghana, H.E.M. John Dramani Mahama

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, 22 March 2016, -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- About recent attacks in Mali and Côte d’Ivoire, President Alassane Ouattara said the security threat “must not undermine regional integration as our countries separately are small in size with low population with few exceptions “. Ghana’s President, Mr. John Dramani Mahama hopes these attacks will rather push for strengthening regional cooperation: “We must share our intellignece and anti-terror means”, he stated. 

Both presidents downplayed the exposure of Africa to the global economic conditions. Alassane Ouattara said “many countries envy the growth of African countries higher than the world average”. “Africa is not hit hard because of our resilience due to the structural adjustments we implemented earlier”, John Dramani Mahama supported. He further stated that African countries can even leverage on of the tougher economic situation in other regions to attract investors, including through cheap labor and developing tax incentives”.

The two countries, representing 60% of world cocoa production, are eager getting industrialized to create more value. The President of Ghana recalled the goal of transforming 50% of cocoa production by 2020. In doing so, they will turn like the “OPEC of cocoa” according to the Ivorian president. Ouattara also stressed the need to start developing simple industries “such as textiles and mining” without forgetting to increase energy production for the operation of our plants.

Electricity generation is one of the key topics of regional integration as evidenced by the creation of the future common electricity market in West Africa. The two presidents wish to step up this integration in all areas, while intra-African trade still represent less than 30% of the aggregate. The President of Ghana expressed his desire to “remove all borders” by developing a transport infrastructure network and a network between the countries of the subregion, which represent a huge reservoir of consumers. Alassane Ouattara welcomed the leadership of Nigeria in harmonizing the regional integration.

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Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of the AFRICA CEO FORUM.


Developed in partnership with the African Development Bank, the AFRICA CEO FORUM is an event organized by the Jeune Afrique Group, publisher of Jeune Afrique and The Africa Report, and Rainbow Unlimited, a Swiss company specializing in the planning of investment promotion events. Over 800 African and international figures attended the 3rd edition in 2015, including 500 CEOs from 43 African countries and 100 high-level speakers. The AFRICA CEO FORUM is now established as the major event addressing issues of private sector development in Africa.

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