Bureaucratic red tape delayed actioning of SA, Ivory Coast MOUs - Mtshotshisa

The government signed 10 of these agreements on Thursday, ranging from cooperation on employment, aviation, agriculture and telecomms among others in a historic pact between South Africa and the Ivory Coast.

President Cyril Ramaphosa (left) and Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara (right) meet during the South Africa leader's state visit to the West African nation on 2 December 2021. Picture: Theto Mahlakoana/Eyewitness News

ABIDJAN - South African ambassador to the Ivory Coast Zolani Mtshotshisa said that the memoranda of understanding signed by the two countries on Thursday had been gathering dust for about to five years until they were actioned just two years ago.

The government signed 10 of these agreements on Thursday, ranging from cooperation on employment, aviation, agriculture and telecomms among others in a historic pact between South Africa and the Ivory Coast.

The developments are part of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s state visits to West Africa this week, which included a stop in Nigeria.

Ambassador Mtshotshisa said that it took so long for the two countries to realise their goal because of bureaucratic inefficiency that was influenced by the dysfunction in the Ivory Coast for a myriad of reasons.

"The political will was there, certainly on their side, but if you look at the history of this country, there were all sorts of things that destabilised everything. What I'm trying to say is that there has also been the disruption of the normal conduct of things in this country, the civil war was bad here," Ambassador Mtshotshisa said.

The Ivory Coast is the powerhouse of French-speaking West Africa and it packs serious economic pull, given that it exports 40% of the world’s cocoa, the raw material for chocolate among many other products.

But Mtshotshisa said that the history of the country made it impossible for nations like South Africa to gravitate closer.

Home to the African Development Bank, the Ivory Coast is also a significant producer and exporter of coffee and palm oil and is one of the biggest producers of cashews.