Ambassador Sylvestre Kouassi Bile of Cote d’Ivoire in Seoul hosted a reception at the Crystal Ballroom of Lotte Hotel in Seoul on Aug. 7, 2015 to celebrate the 55th anniversary of Independence.
There were many distinguished guests from Korean society and the international community as well as from the Seoul Diplomatic Corps (SDC).
From the Korean government came Deputy Minister Yoon Yeo-cheol of Foreign Affairs for Protocol Affairs, National Assemblyman Shim Jae-kwon (president of the Korea-Cote d’Ivoire Parliamentary Friendship Association and Mayor Park Sung-gyu of Yeongwol County of Gangwon Province. There also were former Korean ambassadors to Africa, including former Korean Ambassador Cho Myung-haeng to Nigeria (now director-curator of the African Arts Museum of Yeongwol), and representatives from the business, cultural and various other circles such as the media, who included Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post.
From the SDC came many mission chiefs who included Ambassadors Albino Malungo of Angola, Ramzi Teymurov of Azerbaijan, Guadalupe Palomeque de Taboada of Bolivia, Dato Paduka Haji Modh Rosli Bin Haji Sabtu of Brunei Darussalam, Suth Dina of Cambodia, Hernan Brantes Glavic of Chile, Tito Saul Pinilla Pinilla of Colombia, Sylvestre Kouassi Bile of Cote d'Ivoire, Grecia Fiodalicia Pichardo of Dominican Republic, Oscar Gustavo Herrera Gilbert of Ecuador, Elizabeth Nicol of Ghana, Dato Rohana binti Ramli of Malaysia, Jaime Antonio Pomareda of Peru, Mamadou Ndiaye of Senegal, Omrie Michael Golley of Sierra Leone, Myrat Mammetalyyev of Turkmenistan, Alba Florio Legnani of Uruguay, Yadira Hidalgo de Ortiz of Venezuela (CDA), and Mumba Smyth Kapumpa of Zambia.
One of the distinctions of the reception was the presentation of an honorary Yeongwol County citizenship to Ambassador Bile by Mayor Park Sung-gyu.
There also were traditional Cote d’Ivoire dances presented in celebration of the auspicious day of Cote d’Ivoire.
Speaking to the guests, Ambassador Bile said, “The memory of the independence of C?te d’Ivoire evokes for us Ivorian, a solemn time of gathering around the strong values of the Republic. It also reflects our unwavering commitment to build a stronger nation, where union, discipline and hard work shall prevail.” See excerpts from his speech below:
Excerpts from the speech of Ambassador Bile:
I would like to welcome you all and thank you very sincerely for accepting to take part in this ceremony, celebrating the fifty-fifth anniversary of the independence of C?te d’Ivoire.
We are honored by your presence among us, at this solemn moment.
This event also honors the 54th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Korea and C?te d’Ivoire, on July 23rd 1961.
On this important day for my country and on behalf of His Excellency President Alassane OUATTARA, the Ivorian Government and people, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Korean Government and people, for the warm and friendly welcome accorded to the President and his delegation, during his state visit in the Republic of Korea, in October 2014.
My gratitude also goes to the officials from the Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI), the Korean International Trade Association (KITA), the Federation of SMEs/SMIs, the Sookmyung Women’s University, and to all those who contributed to the success of this state visit.
The memory of the independence of C?te d’Ivoire evokes for us Ivorian, a solemn time of gathering around the strong values of the Republic. It also reflects our unwavering commitment to build a stronger nation, where union, discipline and hard work shall prevail.
This year, the celebration of the Independence of our country is special, as it takes place at a time when C?te d’Ivoire is engaged in the final preparations for the presidential election on October, 25th 2015. The Government is working long and hard on providing the necessary conditions for an open and transparent election. The outcome of this election should further reinforce democracy in my country.
Today, C?te d’Ivoire is fortunate to be back on the international arena to resume its development. The Ivorian Government and people will continue their efforts to consolidate the strong performance achieved in the last few years.
Therefore, the Government has set as a priority the following areas:
- Peace and security;
- National reconciliation;
- Reconstruction and economic recovery.
Indeed, thanks to major actions and to the continued support from the International Community, the Government endeavors to consolidate the security gains and peace in C?te d’Ivoire.
The implementation of comprehensive structural reforms enabled C?te d’Ivoire, with an average growth rate of 9 %, to move to the fore-front of high growth countries in Africa and worldwide, since 2012. Moreover, Bretton Woods Institutions forecast a continued high growth rate for the next decade.
With regards to the business climate improvement, the World Bank’s “Doing Business 2015” report ranks my country among the top ten reformers in the world for the second consecutive year.
C?te d’Ivoire has also been awarded B1 and B ratings for its performances, with a positive outlook, respectively by Moody’s and Fitch Ratings.
In this perspective, efforts to improve business climate, transparency, good governance and competitiveness continue to be deployed to make C?te d’Ivoire an emerging country by the year 2020, in line with the vision of the President of the Republic.
Over the past 54 years of cooperation between C?te d’Ivoire and the Republic of Korea, the joint efforts carried out allowed our two countries to continuously improve the level of our cooperation built on friendship.
The nature of such cooperation is illustrated by the exchanges of high-level delegations between the two countries. The most significant event was the state visit of His Excellency Mr. Alassane OUATTARA, President of the Republic of C?te d’Ivoire, in the Republic of Korea, from October 6th to October 9th, 2014 ; the first official visit of an Ivorian head of state in this beautiful country.
With regard to trade exchanges, despite their growing trend, they have not yet reached a satisfactory level. However, I would like to express my satisfaction with the interest of Korean economic operators in C?te d’Ivoire. The presence of these firms is remarkable in the quality of their products, and their achievements.
Indeed, Samsung and LG stand out by the sales of their electronic devices. Similarly, Hyundai and Kia Motors have conquered the Ivorian market and are now the second provider of new vehicles to C?te d’Ivoire.
For some years now, several large Korean groups such as Hyundai Engineering & Construction, Kepco and Halla Corporation, have been participating in building power plants to increase the production of electricity.
Soon, Hyundai Rotem and Dongsan Engineering groups will also play a part in building the first suburban rail network in Abidjan, the cost of which is estimated at €1.3 billion.
That is why, following the example of these companies, I would like to invite Korean businessmen, whose know-how is beyond question, to take advantage of the many investment opportunities offered by C?te d’Ivoire.
I am absolutely convinced that with good decisions on both sides, including the opening of the KOICA office in Abidjan as well as the upcoming opening of the KOTRA office, the relationships between our two countries will be more fruitful.
-Long live the Republic of Korea
-Long live the Republic of C?te d’Ivoire
-Long live the cooperation between our two countries