Ivory Coast-Johannesburg route strengthens economic ties between South and West Africa

THE City of Johannesburg, South Africa’s biggest industrial hub. | Unsplash

THE City of Johannesburg, South Africa’s biggest industrial hub. | Unsplash

Published Mar 25, 2024


Following the launch of Air Cote d’Ivoire’s first long-haul route between Abidjan and Johannesburg in June 2022, the Gauteng Tourism Authority (GTA) said South Africa and Ivory Coast had seen steady increases in both cargo and passenger volumes.

Air Cote d’Ivoire, one of the biggest West African carriers on the continent, flies four times a week from OR Tambo International Airport to Félix-Houphouët-Boigny International Airport Abidjan and according to the GTA, there has been ongoing growth in bilateral trade and investment between these two African industrial hubs.

“During 2023, the airline flew at an 80% load factor, a percentage that has continued to climb in January to March 2024,” said the GTA.

The GTA’s spokesperson, Barba Gaoganediwe, said this translates into a consistent 1 000 passengers a month, most of whom are corporate businessmen in the oil, gas and mining sectors.

“With Johannesburg as a key centre for business travel and networking within the African continent, this bodes well for the healthy evolution of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement which is intended to accelerate the development of regional and local value chains, offering investors access to a population of 1.7 billion people and a fast-growing continental GDP,” said Gaoganediwe.

The spokesperson noted that the latest African Development Bank Group Macroeconomic Performance and Outlook report on the continent the African continent is set to remain the second-fastest-growing region after Asia and will account for 11 of the world’s 20 fastest-growing economies in 2024, while the real GDP growth for the continent is expected to average 3.8% and 4.2% in 2024 and 2025 respectively, which is higher than projected global averages of 2.9% and 3.2%.

“In January this year, President Cyril Ramaphosa officially launched a Preferential Trade Area under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement in Durban, calling for more effort to be put into building African champions in finance, retail and telecommunications and in expanding tourism between African countries.

“Key to this is increased connectivity and the improvement of travel, logistics and freight infrastructure,” said Gaoganediwe.

He added that South Africa exported $147 million (about R2.79 billion) to Ivory Coast in 2022 and during the last 27 years, exports from South Africa to the country have increased at an annualised rate of 5.85% and that complex technology and digital transformation, which continue to impact on commerce and industry, promise increased export opportunities between Gauteng and Ivory Coast going forward.

“The route is definitely strengthening economic ties between South Africa and Cote d’Ivoire, which is the economic engine of West Africa, representing 40% of the West African Economic and Monetary Union’s GDP,” said Gaoganediwe.