Yamoussoukro – President Goodluck Jonathan will today, Friday, address the Cote d’Ivoire National Assembly during his three-day State visit to the country.
Nigeria’s Ambassador to Cote d’Ivoire, Mr Kayode Obajulu, disclosed this in an interview in Yamoussoukro, the country’s administrative capital.
Jonathan arrived in Cote d’Ivoire early on Wednesday to participate in a two-day Summit of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government in Yamoussoukro.
Obajulu said the president would also address an economic forum made up of Nigerian and Ivorian investors.
He said the forum would give investorsfrom both countries the opportunity to interact.
According to the ambassador, the state visit had been long overdue and that Ivorians, and Nigeria community in the country are in high spirit to receivethe president.
“The host is full of expectations because it is a special visit for them; the Ivoirians are going to come out in large numbers and the president will address their national Assembly.
“There will be an economic forum where Nigerian and Ivorian investors will interact.
“The president will declare open and address the forum on Saturday,’’ he said.
Obajulu said the visit would take the president to a number of places including the Ivorian city hall where he would be given the key to the city.
He said Jonathan would also visit the Basillica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro, a Roman Catholic minor Basilica constructed between 1985 and 1989 at the cost of 300 million dollars and consecrated by Pope John Paul II on Sept. 10, 1990.
Similarly, the Ambassador said the president would lay a wreath on the tomb of the first Presidentof Cote d’Ivoire, and would be hosted to a State Banquet.
He said the two countries would sign some agreements on economic and agriculture sectors, while further bilateral cooperation would bereached at a meeting of the bi-national commission of the two countries.
“We have some agreements that will be signed and our joint commission, which has been raised to a bi-national commission, will be presided over by the vice president on our side and the Ivorian prime minister.
“The benefit (of the visit) is that in our sub-region, after Nigeria, the next economic power is Cote d’ivoire and there are quite a lot of opportunities here bilaterally which we can harness.
“If we can put our acts together and harmonise our interests, both countries will benefit economically, culturally, agriculturally and so on.
Cote d’Ivoire is an agriculture-based economy; it is the highest producer of cocoa and coffee and it has oil, palm and rubber.
“Cote d’Ivoire has a lot of leverage over Nigeria in these areas, so we have quite a lot to learn,’’ Obajulu said.
He said the country is an oil producing nation and has a refinery built at about the same time as some of Nigeria’s refineries, and noted that the Cote d’Ivoire refinery had been running at full capacity since it was built.
The Ambassador noted that some Nigerian investors into oil business in the country had been allocated oil blocks.
“Cote d’Ivoire is the only country in Africa that produces bitumen. This is another area that we can learn from.
Obajulu said that the present administration in Cote d’ Ivoire encourages Nigerian Investors to invest in the country’s oil and gas sector, and already “we have Sahara Energy and others that have been drilling oil here’’.
Jonathan is accompanied on the visit by the first lady, Dame Patience, some governors, ministers, members of the National Assembly and business community. (NAN)