Ivorian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mrs Toure Maman says the signing of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) by both countries would help strengthen economic ties between them.

Maman expressed the optimism in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday.

She described the agreement, which requires member states to massively reduce tariffs on goods as well as allow free access to commodities and services across the continent, as welcome economic development for both countries.

She said that the signing of the agreement in July marked a new dawn in trade relations between Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria.

Maman said: “Cote d’ Ivoire is a very open country where you can go and carry out your business operations, in line with the AfCFTA.

“If you have money to establish a business there you are free to do so, you do not need to think that Ivorians have to be the chief executive or anything related to that.

“Cote d’Ivoire is part of the free trade agreement, which it is the best thing to have happened in Africa because Nigerians/Ivorians will get to relate with each other better through trade.

“Although we are in the same continent, some people do not know the economic and natural potentials inherent in the region.

“We are very glad to be part of the AfCFTA; I congratulate President Buhari for signing the agreement, because free movement will help to strengthen the trade between our countries.”

According to Maman, the Ivorian government has concluded arrangement for a smooth conduct of proper country’s 2020 presidential election through a new Independent Electoral Commission set up by the government.

The envoy added that the Ivorian government had prioritised women participation in the country’s electoral process in a move aimed at promoting gender equality and improving the welfare of citizens of the country.

According to her, the elections will hold on Oct. 31, 2020.

“So, we are in pre-election moment and all the political parties are working together with the President to have an improved commission.

“Everybody is now working together with the President Ouattara-led administration toward the successful conduct of free and peaceful elections.

“We have achieved a lot in terms of gender equity, as this year has been regarded as our year for women and social year in Ivory Coast.

“Cote d’Ivoire government has done a lot in the areas of job creation, provision of electricity and potable drinking water.

“Government also established a 30 per cent quota policy that enables women vying elective positions to contest for legislative assemblies, participate in electoral processes and occupy public offices,” the envoy added.