H.E Aly Toure, Chairperson, International Rubber Study Group (IRSG)
I am pleased to welcome all delegates to the World Rubber Summit (WRS) which this year convenes in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire on 04-06 May, with the participation of numerous stakeholders and players from around the world.
“Unlocking the Potential of the Rubber Economy: Pathways to Growth in the Next Decade” is the theme that will inform the two days conference this year. Experts, policy makers, industry representatives, innovators and leaders will meet in Abidjan with the goal to identify the road map to make sure that the rubber economy will continue to record a sustained and inclusive growth.
Many are the challenges that our sector needs to face. The outlook for the global economy, still recovering from a synchronized slowdown brought on in part by the US-China trade war, is bleak. The rubber economy itself seems to be at a crossroad. Mature and emerging markets face challenges to embrace disruptive innovations, climate mitigation and digitalisation to pave paths for a sustained and inclusive growth. Sustainable mobility and advancements in the health sector underpinned by social, economic and technological trends demands the identification of opportunities compatible with transformation offering solutions than products.
The meeting is an exceptional opportunity for African countries to discuss what might be the role of Africa in the rubber economy in the next decade. Although the natural rubber sector is dominated by Asian players the African rubber industry could play a significant role in increasing prosperity and growth among the rubber communities. Natural rubber is a major crop in Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria and Cameroon and has strong growth potential across the value chain with low minimum wage, large working population and large arable land suitable for rubber cultivation.
Finally, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Government of Côte d’Ivoire for its generous hospitality and I would like to wish our distinguished speakers, delegates, private sector as well as government representatives a successful WRS 2020.