It is a pleasure to welcome you all this evening on behalf of His Excellency Mamadou Haïdara, Ambassador of Côte d’Ivoire to the United States in the Chancery of the Diplomatic Mission of Côte d’Ivoire on the occasion of the Cultural Evening organized by the Association “Things To Do”.
Before proceeding any further, I wish to extend the deep and heartfelt regrets of HE Mr. Mamadou Haïdara who would have so much loved to partake of this event in person, but couldn’t make it due to official duties which sent him out of the country for a couple of days.
Rest assured that the Ambassador, as main representative of Ivorian Authorities and committed proponent of Ivorian culture and values, grants his full support to this event dedicated to the promotion of this culture and these values.
On his behalf, I would like to express our sincere thanks, particularly to the Association "Things to do" and to its President, Mr. Greg BLAND for the honor which is done to the Embassy of Côte d'Ivoire to host for the third time this ceremony which has already afforded many people a unique opportunity to discover Côte d’Ivoire.
Dear Greg, thank you for the laudable work you are carrying out so tirelessly and so professionally, which is a valuable contribution to the dissemination of our Culture in Washington DC.
I would like to take advantage of this solemn circumstance to salute and thank all our honorable guests gathered together here this evening and in particular all the Young Professionals for taking the time to participate in this event, in order to apprehend Ivorian realities. We greatly appreciate this openness which, I hope, will gradually pave the way to a more human, co-operative and friendly world.
Ladies and gentlemen,
This event, designed as an evening of interactive information sharing opportunity on Ivorian economy, culture and touristic potential, requires that I stop right here for us to pass on to a video projection, then to the said information sharing. But allow me to give you a couple of key information before leaving the floor.
Côte d’Ivoire is a French-speaking country located in West Africa on 322,463 km², with 25 million inhabitants.
The economy of Côte d'Ivoire is an agri-based economy with following tremendous achievements:
The world's largest cocoa exporter (2 million ton representing 40% of world cocoa production). That's why we usually say that every time you eat ten (10) bars of chocolate, it means that you have eaten four (4) of them from cocoa from Côte d'Ivoire;
the world's largest cashew nut exporter (700 000 ton);
1st world exporter of Cola;
Major exporter of pineapple, mango, rubber, palm oil, coffee, banana, cotton and much more.
Beside Agriculture, Côte d’Ivoire exports also electric energy and gas.
In terms of infrastructure, Côte d'Ivoire has a good road network, modern airports, a performing railway network, international ports and a telecommunication network with international audit standards.
All these achievements together with political stability, have made Côte d'Ivoire a major gateway to West Africa and a haven of peace, and therefore a conducive place for business.
In addition to its widely diversified population, with about sixty ethnic groups, Côte d'Ivoire is a melting pot. That has contributed to stimulate not only the economy of the country, but also its culture.
About 26% of foreigners live in perfect harmony with Ivorians.
At the cultural level, Côte d’Ivoire is recognized as a cultural crossroads and a reference in the fields of art music, dance, fashion, shows and gastronomy. (you can contemplate in the Hall the exhibition of an Ivorian painter, Mr. Bernard ODI),
Ladies and gentlemen,
Not mere words can convey the realities of this wonderful country. Côte d’Ivoire is worth a visit.
Finally, I would like to reiterate the thanks of the Ambassador of Côte d'Ivoire for your great interest in Côte d'Ivoire and invite you now to view some videos.