Atalayar spoke with Bruno Nabagné-Koné, Minister of Construction, Finance and Urban Planning of Côte d’Ivoire on the occasion of the Africa-Spain Cooperation Summit event
Africa offers great investment opportunities for the future. The continent is a great economic and financial option and this was made clear at the event organised in Madrid under the title “Africa-Spain Cooperation Summit”, in which various personalities analysed the important link and the outstanding cooperation ties between the African continent and the Spanish nation.
In this regard, Atalayar was able to speak with Bruno Nabagné-Koné, Minister of Construction, Finance and Urban Planning of the Ivory Coast, who provided important details on these issues.
Bruno Nabagné-Koné, Minister of Construction, Finance and Urban Planning of Côte d’Ivoire. Minister, what does it mean to you to be at this One Africa event today?
Well, for us it is extremely important. Today, Africa has about 1.5 billion inhabitants. Africa represents about 20% of the world’s population. Africa has an important weight and our ambition is to make Africa step up economically as well.
Therefore, an exchange is necessary, as is the case with businessmen, with the business circles of European countries, which are both suppliers and consumers of our products. Therefore, we came to show the potential of our country, Côte d’Ivoire. First, the potential of Africa, which is a very populated continent, but also a young and dynamic continent.
My country consists of a young population, it is a dynamic population, it is a creative population, it is a population that, at the same time, improves its purchasing power every year. We have a middle class that is improving every year. And we can see that, in general, the continent improves governance in practically all countries. This facilitates the look and vision that a foreign investor can have in our countries.
In addition, an investor finds it much easier because we work as if we were working in a European country. We are here in Spain simply because we think there is a knowledge deficit. We don’t know each other well enough. Therefore, it is important to come and exchange knowledge and words with people from the world about the political and social situation both in Spain and in our countries.
To exchange words, to know each other better, to show the potential of our countries and to come to our countries with people who have developed skills here. In particular, in the sectors in which I work, that is, real estate, construction, rental, urban planning, I know that Spain has great experience, Spain has great skills. Spain produces a lot of rental, quality rental, it also produces construction materials.
And Ivory Coast is a country that is in urban transition. Today we have 52% urban population, but it is a level that since independence has not stopped growing. So it is a level that will continue to grow in the coming years. We have indicated before that we have a rental requirement of 600,000 units. We want to solve this need within a decade. This imposes on us a construction rate of fifty thousand rooms per year. For this, we need all the materials to produce them, windows, doors, electricity, and so on. This is an extremely important potential, and we hope that the challenge will also be taken up by Spanish businessmen, who we know are competent enough to accompany us in this matter.
Speaking of diversity… do you have a small message for Spaniards to better understand this beautiful continent?
It is not necessary for Spaniards to feel that they are in the same country. What I can say is that, in terms of spirituality, we are like all the countries of the world. As far as Ivory Coast is concerned, for example, we have Christians, representing about 40% of the population; Muslims, about 40% of the population. However, the relationship is fraternal, without any violence. I must say that it is a relationship of understanding and acceptance and it works well. This issue, in our country, does not present any difficulties.
Talking a little bit about Ivory Coast… it is a country that today has about 30 million inhabitants in the Gulf of Guinea. We are a country that we consider ourselves as the gateway to the WAEMU (West African Economic and Monetary Union). WAEMU is the Economic and Monetary Union of West African Countries using the same currency, the CFA franc. And this encompasses about 120-130 million inhabitants. And when you look at what is called ECOWAS, the Economic Community of West African States, including Nigeria, we exceed the power of 400 million consumers.
So we believe that there is a lot of potential. It is an economically strong and politically stable country. In economic terms, Côte d’Ivoire is the world’s leading cocoa producer. It accounts for almost 40% of the world’s cocoa. It is also the world’s leading producer of cashew nuts, with 1,200,000 tons. It is one of Africa’s leading producers of rubber and cotton.
It is a country that is strong in agriculture, but also has the advantage of having mining resources. We also occupy, I believe, the 4th or 5th place in gold production. So Côte d’Ivoire is a country with a lot of natural potential, but it is also a country with a lot of human potential. It is a country in which, as I said before, we have a strong, dynamic and well-educated youth, and we have made great efforts in terms of stability.
We have made great efforts in terms of political stability and governance. We are a country that today meets world standards in terms of economic and political governance. So, we believe that it is an attractive place for investment and we call on Spanish businessmen to join us in what is the future of the world.
As I told you before, regarding the future of the world, we think that, because of the population that Africa is going to represent in the next 10 or 20 years, because of the economic potential of Africa and in terms of the improvements that we will develop in all aspects, with special emphasis on the governance aspect, we think that it is a continent that is going to count more and more at the world level and we call on businessmen to come and take their place in what is the future of the world.
Source : Atalayar