Arancha Gonzalez, executive director of the International Trade Centre, said that the export development strategy would help the country navigate and infiltrate the global economy and that it would take partnership between the public and private sectors regarding which sectors to invest in.
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Despite the fact that Cote d'Ivoire is one of the world’s largest cocoa exporters, its exports remain among the lowest value-added products. This is an issue that the new strategy would look to rectify.
“The strategy is first to diversify the exports of Cote d’lvoire by moving into more value-added products, the second is helping more small and medium enterprises (SMEs) trade,” she said.
"The third is having a better mix between the three pillars of the country: agro-processed products, manufacturers and more services."
Another issue is that banks are reluctant to finance SMEs. However, Gonzalez said there are many other sources of funding that SMEs could look at such as financial institutions, private institutions, private banks, venture capitalists and high net worth individuals.
Gonzalez added that the International Trade Centre has partnered with a local financial institution to help banks better evaluate the risks of SMEs as well as to assist SMEs in putting together bankable projects.
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As for evaluating the success of the national export strategy, Gonzalez stated that people must look at more than just the volume that is exported such as the value added and the employment opportunities created.