On Sunday morning, Princess Astrid will accompany a Belgian trade delegation to the Ivory Coast. Representatives of more than 200 companies will be travelling over, together with the Walloon and Flemish trade ministers, Pierre-Yves Jeholet (MR) and Philippe Muyters (New Flemish Alliance), the Brussels Secretary of State for Trade, Cécile Jodogne (Défi), the Secretary of State for Foreign Trade, Pieter De Crem (CD&V), and the federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, Didier Reynders (MR).
From Sunday to Thursday, 214 Belgian business leaders will be on a trade mission with Princess Astrid and political representatives of the country in Abidjan, the economic capital of the Ivory Coast. The Belgian priority is currently strengthening commercial relations between both countries, whilst Belgium is the second European importer of Ivory Coast products. This mission aims to create the maximum number of contacts so as to able to be identify contracts with Ivory Coast companies.
The Ivory Coast is one of Belgium’s main partners in Africa. The sectors which benefit most from this trade in Belgium are the car industry, agricultural and engineering machines, the drinks industry, chemical products and vaccinations. We mainly import food products from the Ivory Coast, such as bananas and pineapples, but also oil, zinc and wood.
Imports into Belgium amounted to a little over €685 million in 2016, and exports towards West African countries €292 million. The Ivory Coast has been a stable commercial partner for Belgium following its post-electoral crisis between 2010-2011, which caused more than 3,000 deaths.
The current government led by President Alassane Ouattara established an ambitious domestic development plan in 2016 with a 2020 completion date. The Belgian trade delegation will be received by Mr Ouattara, after a contract signing ceremony between Belgian companies and the Ivory Coast public sector.