Ample room for Vietnamese firms to operate in French-speaking African countries hinh anh 1Trade Counsellor in Algeria Hoang Duc Nhuan (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA)
– Vietnamese businesses have huge opportunities to operate in French-speaking African countries, Trade Counsellor in Algeria Hoang Duc Nhuan has said.

Nhuan, who is also in charge of trade affairs in Gambia, Mali, Niger and Senegal, said with a combined population of 570 million, the 32 French-speaking countries in Africa are expected to form a new economic centre of the world.

In an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) on the sidelines of an online workshop on economic and trade cooperation potential and prospects between Vietnam and the French-speaking African countries, the official said Vietnam’s export revenue to the countries reached 1.7 billion USD in 2019, up 6.3 percent, and its import value, 2.8 billion USD, up 12 percent year-on-year.

According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, the two-way trade increased from 2.7 billion USD in 2015 to 4.5 billion USD last year, making up 88 percent of the total trade between Vietnam and Africa, with an annual growth rate of 13.6 percent.

Vietnam has maintained trade ties with major partners in the region such as Ivory Coast, Ghana, Egypt, the Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Morocco, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Togo, Mozambique and Benin.

Vietnam exports rice, mobile phones and components, computers, electronics and motorbikes to the countries, while importing production materials like crude cashew nuts, cotton, and wood and timber products.

At the workshop, representatives from African organisations and businesses spoke highly of Vietnam’s role and position in Southeast Asia, and expressed their wish for stronger economic, trade and investment ties.

They hailed the Vietnamese government’s efforts in containing COVID-19 and recovering the national economy post pandemic.

Chékou Oussouman, Regional representative of the Asia and Pacific office of the International Organisation of La Francophonie, said Vietnam has been seen as the gateway for African businesses to access Southeast Asia.

African countries would also become attractive destinations for Asian enterprises through Vietnam, he added.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Cao Quoc Hung said Vietnam always attaches importance to cooperation with the French-speaking community, and will make more contributions for a stronger and united community.

Vietnam is an important partner of many African countries in the Asia-Pacific region, he said, adding that Vietnam is willing to work as a bridge between the French-speaking African nations and Asia-Pacific during the implementation of the Francophone economic development strategy./.