Vietnam promotes African, Mekong Francophone countries’ cooperation hinh anh 1Rice is one of the key export products to African market (Photo: VNA)
HCM City (VNA) - Vietnam has played a crucial role in promoting economic, trade, and investment links, especially the South-South cooperation, between African countries and the Francophone countries of the Mekong region.

The country’s know-how in the fields of its strength will contribute to removing bottlenecks in South-South partnership issues such as legal and commercial disputes and financial payment, said Vice President of the Vietnam-Africa-Middle East Business Forum Thai Kieu Phuong.

She noted that the country holds vast potential in developing agriculture and high technology.

Vietnam has gained positive achievements with export turnover increasing to 150 billion USD in 2014 from 100 billion USD in 2012. It also recorded a trade surplus for three consecutive years.

Dong The Quang, an expert from the International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF), said the Vietnamese Government and businesses are expected to actively swing into action to seize investment and trade opportunities in the Francophone economic space.

The organisation hopes to receive strong support from Vietnam as it is moving to develop inter-regional economic links in Africa, Asia, and Europe between 2015 and 2018.

Director of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Ho Chi Minh City Office Vo Tan Thanh said Vietnam wants to share experience in post-harvest agricultural processing with members of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) and the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC).

Vietnam has put into operation a number of processing plants for farm produce such as rice and cashew nut, which serves domestic market and exports, he noted.

The creation of a production value chain to churn out high-quality commodities has been defined a major development orientation of the agriculture sector, he added.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, trade between Vietnam and UEMOA countries increased fivefold from 180 million USD in 2007 to 854 million USD last year.

Meanwhile, bilateral trade between Vietnam and CEMAC nations increased to 340.8 million USD in 2014 from 72.6 million USD in 2007.

Deputy head of the ministry’s South-West Asia and Africa Department Hoang Duc Nhuan said rice is the key export staple to UEMOA and CEMAC, accounting for 50-70 percent of the country’s total exports to the markets, followed by garment-textile and processed industrial products.

In recent years, Vietnam has sought to export new commodities to the markets such as seafood, steel products, machinery and spare parts.

Potential fields including farm produce, apparel and timber products are expected to gross 5 billion USD worth in export revenue.-VNA