By Publisher Lee Kyung -sik with Foreign Relation Editor Song Na-ra
Ambassador Silvestre Kouassi Bile of the Republic of Cote d”Ivoire in Seoul said, “The volume of trade between Cote d’Ivoire and Korea nearly doubled from US$120 million in 2012 to US$230 million in 2015.”
In a recent interview with The Korea Post media, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean-language news publications, Ambassador Bile then predicted, “The outlook is good, and we believe bilateral trade will continue to grow over the years to come and we hope to double this volume in the near future.”
Development of relations between countries, especially the growth of economic cooperation and trade, is considered very important these days and in this respect in the opinion of many people in Korea Cote d’Ivoire has been in good hands judging from the figures of the bilateral relations. Further details of the interview are as follows:
Question: Who are the Korean companies in Cote d’Ivoire contributing to the promotion of economic relations between the two countries?
Answer: The Korean companies are gaining growing popularity in Cote d’Ivoire. Their presence in my country is remarkable by their proven expertise in the areas where they are already involved, such as power plant construction, road infrastructures, digital economy, and eventually construction of hydroelectric dams and bridges.
Korean companies such as Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), Halla Corporation, Samsung C &T, Jaewon Industrial Co. Ltd., and Dongsan Engineering are actively engaged in the promotion of economic cooperation between Korea and Cote d’Ivoire.
Q: How is your country coping with COVID-19? What measure(s) has your Head of Government taken to control the worrisome epidemic plaguing the world today?
A: The Ivorian authorities have succeeded in effectively containing the spread of the coronavirus thanks to a combination of the following measures: The application of lessons from experience in the fight against the Ebola epidemic, this was based on the principles of the speed of action, transparency, and border control. Thanks to border controls, Cote d’Ivoire has not experienced any cases of Ebola, although some of its neighboring countries had some cases.
Massive investment in the public health system, transparent sharing of information, and fostering civic awareness. The closing of borders, schools, places of leisure like nightclubs especially a great awareness on the respect of the barrier measures and massive screening.
As part of the resumption of flights, the Government issued a decree to institute a declaration form for travel by air, compulsory for all travelers from/to Côte d'Ivoire and adopted practical arrangements which require a series of conditions to be respected by passengers, Ivorian airport officials and by airline companies.
Q: Please introduce the relations between Korea and Cote d’Ivoire.
A: Located in the intertropical zone, Cote d’Ivoire, a country in West Africa, covers an area of 322 463Km2. It is limited to the North by Burkina Faso and Mali, to the South by the Atlantic Ocean, to the East by Ghana and to the West by Guinea and Liberia. Its relative economic success is due to its natural and human potentialities.
The Ivorian relief is generally flat and composed of plains and plateaus, with the exception of the west where there are some mountains. From this relief, it appears that 97% of the land in Cote d’Ivoire is arable.
Korea and Cote d’Ivoire established diplomatic relations on July 23, 1961 as the first country in the African region, and the relations between the two countries have grown by leaps and bounds in the form of ‘Comprehensive and Practical’ relations especially following the official state visit to Korea by President Alassane OUATTARA on October 6 to 9, 2014 for the first time in the history of relations between the two countries.
Among Koreans, Cote d’Ivoire is known to be a central country in West Africa with a land space about one and half times that of the Korean Peninsula and a population of 25 million people. Among Koreans (and perhaps in other countries of the world), Cote d’Ivoire is the largest producer of the raw materials of chocolate loved by the entire world as well as the Korean people and is endowed with various other important agricultural and other natural resources.
It’s the country of DROGBA, a famous football player, who used to play for the Chelsea Football Club in England. He was advertising for Samsung for a long time.
Abidjan, the economic capital city of Cote d’Ivoire, is known as the “Paris of Africa” for the economic and cultural activities that lead many other countries in the region. The African Development Bank has its headquarters in Abidjan.
Cote d’Ivoire has attained a good measure of political and economic stability and development in recent years and consequently, investments and productivity have grown remarkably with the result that the country is known to have been making a 10% economic growth every year – which makes the country a target of great attention from the outside world, as well as from Korea.
The Korean government and business world are aware of this and efforts are continuously being made for the promotion of relations and cooperation in the political, economic, cultural, and various other fields between the two countries.
Cote d’Ivoire which aims to become an emerging country by the near future is very much inspired by Korea in the process of its economic development. Cote d’Ivoire is currently engaged in the structural transformation of its economy, with a focus on industrialization.
Profile of President Alassane Ouattara
Born on January 1, 1942 in Dimbokro, Côte d’Ivoire, Married with four children.
Elected as the head of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire in November 2010 and re-elected in October 2015, President Alassane Ouattara was first a senior international civil servant.
1965: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Drexel Institute of Technology in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1967: Master of Arts in Economics, University of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1972: Ph.D. in Economics (Doctor’s degree), University of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
April 1968-August 1973: Economist for the I.M.F. in Washington, D.C. (United State)
August 1973-February 1975: Head of Mission at the headquarters of the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) in Paris (France)
February 1975-December 1982: Special Advisor to the Governor and Director of Research of the West Africa regional bank (BCEAO) in Paris and Dakar (Senegal)
January 1983-October 1984: Vice-Governor of the BCEAO in Dakar
November 1984-October 1988: Director of the African Department at the I.M.F. in Washington, D.C.
May 1987-October 1988: Special Advisor to the Director-General of the I.M.F. Washington, D.C
October 1988-December 1993: Governor of the BCEAO, in Dakar
Since December 1993: Honorary Governor of the BCEAO
From April to November 1990, Ivorian President Felix Houphouet-Boigny appointed Ouattara as Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Coordination of the Stabilization and Economic Recovery Program of Cote d’Ivoire; while holding the position, Ouattara also remained in his post as BCEAO Governor.
November 7, 1990-December 9, 1993: Prime Minister of Cote d’Ivoire and Head of Government
July 1, 1994-July 31, 1999: Deputy Director-General of the I.M.F., Washington D.C
Since August 1, 1999: President of the Rally of Republicans (RDR) party Ivorian centrist
Since June 10, 1999: President, Founder of the International Institute for Africa (IIA) Washington, D.C
In November 2010: Elected President of Cote d’Ivoire, reelected in October 2015
Profile of Ambassador Bile in Seoul:
1971 - 1975: Bachelor of Arts, University of Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire)
1975 - 1976 Diploma of Political and Social Sciences,
University of Leuven (Belgium)
July 1977 Higher Diploma, Training for Diplomatic Service,
National School of Administration, Abidjan
September 1977 to August 1978: Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
Head of Northern and Eastern Africa Division
1978 - 1984 Counsellor, Embassy of Cote d’Ivoire in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia)
1984 – 1986: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Political Affairs Department
September to December 1985 Member of the Ivorian delegation to the 40th Session,
United Nations General Assembly, New York
1986 – 1992: Chargé d’Affaires en pied, then Counsellor,
Embassy of Côte d’Ivoire to the State of Israel
January 1993 to August 1994: Chief of Africa Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
September 1994 to February 1997: Deputy Director, Asia, and Middle East Department
May – June 1995: Training in Tokyo on Japanese ODA Policy, organized by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
February 20 to July 10, 1997: Charge d’Affaires during the opening of the Embassy of Cote d’Ivoire in Seoul (Republic of Korea)
July 1997 to February 2005: First Counsellor, Deputy Head of Mission, Cote d’Ivoire Embassy in Seoul
April to October 2005: Deputy Director of West Africa Ministry of Foreign Affairs
October to November 2005: Training at the Diplomatic Institute of Madrid (Spain)
November 2005 to July 2006: Deputy Director in Charge of Inter -African Cooperation Organizations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
August 2006 to July 2012: Ambassador, Director of Africa Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
July 4, 2012: Ambassador-designate of Cote d’Ivoire to the Republic of Korea
December 6, 2012: Presentation of Credential Letters to the President of the Republic of Korea
November 29, 2016: Presentation of Credential Letters to the Sultan of Brunei Darussalam
December 2, 2016: Presentation of Credential Letters to the King of Malaysia
Participation in meetings and conferences:
1979 - 1982: All the meetings of the OAU Liberation Committee in Dar Salaam and Arusha (Tanzania)
1979 - 1984: All councils of Ministers and summits of Heads of State and Government of the OAU held in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia)
2006 - 2010: All the meetings of the Executive Council and the Conference of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU). All the meetings and Conferences in the framework of ECOWAS, CENSAD, and MANO River UNION.
April 2010: Officer of the National Order of Cote d’Ivoire