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Cote d扞voire Keen To Bolster Export SectorWednesday, November 19, 2014 > 09:20:00
Cote d’Ivoire, the world’s largest exporter of cocoa beans, has developed a National Export Strategy (NES), aimed at improving both its regional and international exports.
The blueprint for the competitiveness and development of the country’s export will be managed by the National Export Council (NEC) established in August.
The executive director of the International Trade Centre (ITC), Arancha Gonzalez, told CNBC Africa on phone that the export development strategy would help the West African country to gradually gain access to the global economy.
Cote d’Ivoire is the fourth largest exporter of goods in sub-Saharan Africa, but it still grapples with the issue of export quality. Gonzalez noted that the strategy will address this.
“The strategy is first to diversify the exports of Cote d’lvoire by moving into more value-added products. The second is helping more small and medium enterprises (SMEs) trade.
“The third is having a better mix between the three pillars of the country: agro-processed products, manufacturers and more services,” adds Gonzalez.
Gonzalez observed that banks have been sceptical about funding SMEs due to the type of projects they present. She however said that ITC is partnering some local institutions to help SMEs put together bankable projects, as well as help banks better evaluate risks associated with funding such projects.
According to a statement by ITC following the establishment of the National Export Council in August, priority sectors were identified against criteria agreed on by public and private-sector representatives. Those sectors were endorsed by the Council of Ministers. They include rubber, cashew, cotton-to-clothing, tropical fruits, cassava, and information and communications technology. The cross-sector functional strategies selected include trade information and promotion; access to finance; packaging and quality management; export-related capacity-building; and trade facilitation and logistics.
ITC, whose mandate is to help developing and transition economies promote their exports, has been providing technical assistance for Cote d’Ivoire’s NES since 2013.