Business tourism in Ivory Coast: A local sourcing development program initiated

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USAID, IFC, in collaboration with the State / Private Sector Coordination Committee (CCESP), organized on March 5, 2019, a workshop to connect local suppliers with leading companies in the tourism sector. in Ivory Coast. The main objective of this meeting, was to '' establish a meeting between the major brands of the tourism sector in Abidjan and a first wave of potential local suppliers, in order to refine and seize business opportunities, while identifying the potential support needs to be deployed to facilitate and sustain this collaboration. Buyers have seized the opportunity of this dedicated USAID and IFC-funded technical assistance program to present their structures as well as the specific products for which they wish to be sourced locally. Buyers and suppliers discussed purchasing conditions as well as other issues in order to have a refined knowledge of demand in the three selected sectors of fruit and vegetables, meat and cosmetics.

The B to B meetings that were organized for this purpose, made it possible to meet a first selection of suppliers and to evaluate their potential in this dynamic that aims to substitute products still imported by local products. This approach involves knowing the challenges that suppliers should face and the obstacles that need to be overcome in order to establish the beginning of a buyer-supplier partnership relationship.

Alain Traoré, Program Manager at IFC, said in his speech that the business tourism sector in Abidjan is an essential lever for the development of the economy through job creation and added value direct, as well as indirect revenues generated at the supply chain level. However, it has identified some obstacles that limit the positive impact of the actions implemented to increase the share of local production in the business tourism sector in Abidjan. This is particularly asymmetric information between buyers and suppliers. Suppliers are not informed of opportunities and buyers struggle to identify suppliers who can provide them with what they need. There are also weaknesses in local supply, including the lack of local suppliers to meet the needs of buyers and their customers in terms of quality, volume, and sustainability, '' he explained. Continuing, he pointed out that the IFC initiative to support the sector through the West Africa Regional Tourism Program, aims to deepen collaboration with the major brands in the sector to increase the local share of supplies in the fruit and vegetable, meat and cosmetics sectors identified as having high potential ''.

Following her, the Executive Secretary of the State / Private Sector Coordination Committee (CCESP), Mariam Fadiga Fofana expressed the support and commitment of the Ivorian State to support this support from the International Finance Corporation (IFC). "The government's ambition is to increase the share of national production in the supply of business tourism and mass distribution through a technical assistance approach for successful business partnerships with major retailers. . This ambition passes on the one hand, by the upgrade of the local offer to the standard of quality variety, quantity, regularity and traceability of the buyers and on the other hand by the establishment of prices and deadlines of payment that guarantees them a proper and adapted profitability, "she added. She also reiterated the commitment of the CCESP to be in constant listening of all parties involved, to seek solutions to stimulate the development of smes and to promote the commercial relationship with new brands.

The representative of the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Promotion of SMEs, Mrs. Mariama Koné for her part, encouraged suppliers to join these initiatives that will allow them to '' develop professional skills through quality of their products and services '', before declaring this workshop open.

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