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Hollande in Côte d'Ivoire for talks dominated by trade

media Alassane Ouattara greets François Hollande, Abidjan, 17 July 2014 Reuters/Luc Gnago

French president François Hollande flew into Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire on Thursday morning at the start of a visit to be dominated by trade talks.

France is Côte d’Ivoire’s main trading partner.

Hollande was met at Félix-Houphouët-Boigny airport by Ivorian president Alassane Ouattara.

Ouattara is hosting Hollande for the first time in Abidjan, although he has visited the French president in Paris on four occasions.

The French president is accompanied by a delegation of around 40 business leaders, including top people from Bouygues, Alstom and Suez-Environnement.

There are around 150 small businesses run by French people in Côte d’Ivoire as well as about 200 subsidiaries of larger French companies.

The two presidents will also attend The Sustainable Town, an economic forum.

Human rights and justice issues will also be on the agenda, later today Hollande will meet non governmental organisations.

He will also meet representatives of the Ivorian Patriotic Front (FPI), the party of former president Laurent Gbagbo, who is currently in detention awaiting trial in The Hague.

On Friday Hollande heads to Niger, then to Chad on Saturday, for the redeployment of French forces in the Sahel.

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