Guest blog post by Janel Edens, Office of Africa, International Trade Administration
On December 7th, 2018, the U.S.-Côte d’Ivoire Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross on behalf of the government of the United States and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marcel Amon-Tanoh on behalf of the Government of Côte d’Ivoire.
“We are fundamentally changing the business narrative between our two great nations,” noted Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross during the signing.
The MOU seeks to build awareness among the American business community of commercial opportunities and participation in strategic agriculture, industry, transportation, energy, and other priority projects in Côte d’Ivoire. In fact, these sectors have been prioritized in Côte d’Ivoire’s National Development Plan (NDP) for 2016-2020.
The projects implemented under this MOU will accelerate business growth, increase agricultural output, boost infrastructure and energy development, industrialize the economy, as well as improve the standard of living for Ivorians, while providing new opportunities for U.S. firms.
The Department of Commerce will take the lead in organizing a comprehensive approach that coordinates Federal government programs for providing financing and other assistance to U.S. companies. In addition, under the MOU, the Federal government will work directly with the Côte d’Ivoire Government on removing trade barriers that could prevent American businesses from finding success in Côte d’Ivoire.
The MOU signing was the culmination of an extensive effort that began some time ago. Under Secretary Kaplan himself and business leaders from the United States visited Côte d’Ivoire to conduct high-level discussions during the Presidential Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa Members’ fact-finding trip to the continent several months ago.
Côte d’Ivoire is a country primed for growth. The nation is already one of the top ten export markets for U.S. goods in Sub-Saharan Africa and considered a strong regional partner for the United States.
The signing of the U.S.-Côte d’Ivoire MOU marked another defining moment in the U.S.-Côte d’Ivoire bilateral relationship and reaffirmed that both countries seek to enhance commercial ties for years to come.