The new ambassador of Cote d’Ivoire emphasized on Wednesday the importance of private-sector investment from Japan in helping the development of his country.

Investment in Cote d’Ivoire has also boosted Japan’s position in Africa, Kouassi Hyacinthe Marcel said during a visit to The Japan Times.

Japan should also invest in Kouassi oil and gas development in Cote d’Ivoire, which has “promising” reserves, he said, adding that the United States, China and other countries are already exploring the region’s energy resources.

Kouassi expressed hope that the Japanese government will not cut its official development assistance to his country, despite its decision to cut ODA by 10 percent in 2002. Japan’s ODA to Cote d’Ivoire and other African countries should be maintained at the current level, he said.

Japan should consider the futures of Africa and the rest of the world, along with the future of its own energy supply and its position in the international community, he said. It is important that Africa and Japan form an alliance, he added.

Kouassi, serving his second round in Tokyo, said that during his previous assignment, as a counselor at the Cote d’Ivoire Embassy between 1984 and 1988, he learned a great deal about Japanese ways, including efficient ways to do business.

In particular, he said, he was impressed by the way that all parties take part in the decision-making process. This process, which can still be found today in rural areas of Cote d’Ivoire, makes the result of the final decision much stronger, he observed.

Kouassi, appointed to his post in June, presented his credentials to the Emperor on Sept. 28.

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