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Cote d’Ivoire’s ambassador to Japan, Jerome Kloh Weya, says his mission is to enhance economic ties between his country and Tokyo — equal to the level of amicable diplomatic relations that the two countries have shared over the past 53 years.

During a courtesy visit to The Japan Times on Tuesday, Weya noted that President Alassane Ouattara is scheduled to visit the nation during the fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development, which will be held in Yokohama in June.

In the 20 years since TICAD I was first held in 1993, the conference has evolved into a new phase, with the African economy growing rapidly.

The ambassador stressed that Cote d’Ivoire is the greatest producer and exporter of cocoa in the world, and he hopes that Japan, one of the world’s great consumers of chocolate, will import cocoa directly from Cote d’Ivoire.

At present, Japanese companies buy cocoa via European or American routes, Weya said.

“Why not establish a closer relationship between the great consumer of chocolate and the leading producer of cocoa? It will be a win-win relationship,” he said.

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