Students from Côte d’Ivoire about the reasons to study in Russia

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As young people from the Ivory Coast believe, their country needs specialists who are capable of managing mining enterprises. It is not only engineers who are needed but also the teachers. Students need someone who can transfer knowledge to them. According to "Forpost", over the coming years there will be a lot to do for both the teachers and engineers.

Côte d'Ivoire is the world's leading producer of cocoa beans and one of the leading exporters of coffee and palm oil. However, the prices on these goods have not been stable recently, and the country’s government has been forced to start diversifying the economy, primarily through development of oil and gas sector.

The civil war which took place in 2011 has seriously affected the production volumes of hydrocarbons in Côte d'Ivoire. Today, after having returned to peaceful life, nearly 30 thousand barrels of oil gets produced in a day. According to the government’s statistics, black gold production volumes have reached 7 million barrels in 2015 and, through the export of produced oil, some 2 billion US dollars were brought into the state.

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Most of the deposits in Côte d'Ivoire are located offshore. A dramatic intensification of exploratory works in coastal waters was caused by the fact that in 2007 the bordering country Ghana informed of discovering a large field. The field had been brought into operation in record-breaking time, by 2010. All of a sudden it became clear that Atlantic Ocean might become an additional source of excess profits for a country inhabited by 28 million people.

Next, in 2013, two companies, Vanco Cote d'Ivoire and the British Tullow Oil, at a half a year interval announced that they had found oil there. As a result of developing new fields in the coastal zone and related infrastructure, a qualitative increase in figures was recorded and, about a year ago, oil companies managed to increase production volumes to 52-54 thousand barrels per day.

Nevertheless, an ambitious plan, which was announced five years ago, to increase this figure to 100- 200 thousand barrels per day has been left unfulfilled. To compare, this November oil production in the United States amounted to 11.6 million barrels per day, and in Russia it has reached 11.4 million barrels, which is a new post-Soviet era record.

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As noted by Kofie Kablan Yves Bertrand, Master’s Degree student in the Department of Organization and Management of Mining University, "The earth depths of our country are rich in oil, gas, diamonds and gold. We have been also developing deposits of nickel, manganese and iron ores. In order to extract minerals and process them, Cote d'Ivoire needs qualified specialists. As for my plans, I am willing to work in an oil refining company. I have no doubt that knowledge that I have received and have been still receiving in Saint-Petersburg will definitely help me in my career".

As Roger Nyango, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Côte d'Ivoire in Russia, explains, "graduates from Russian universities are highly demanded by extracting and processing companies." However, there is also another important part of cooperation – training future teachers. They have to be able to pass their knowledge, acquired while studying in Russia, to the next generations of Ivorian engineers.

In Roger Nyango’s opinion, "The quality of higher education in Russia is very high. Students from my country come here to master key competencies required for developing our economy. Some students will return into the country to work for enterprises, but many will remain in the educational system of Côte d'Ivoire so as to train new generations of qualified specialists".

One of those students, who decided to follow this route, is a post-graduate student Dicko Mouhamadou Baibai Ba, who is studying at the Department of Historical and Dynamic Geology of Mining University. He speaks perfect Russian and he is also sure that newly gained knowledge will help him prosper in his home country.

Speaking of his future plans, he said the following, "After graduating I plan to come back to Côte d'Ivoire and teach at the university level. I want to help people from my country get the same knowledge that I have acquired here in St. Petersburg".

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He also added that apart from the oil and gas sector gold mining industry has been also booming in Côte d'Ivoire during the last few years. In terms of production, the country is expected to reach higher positions not only in the West Africa but also throughout the continent.

As noted by "Gold Mining" portal, in the last ten years volumes of gold extraction in Côte d'Ivoire quadrupled – from 5.3 to 22.7 tons. At the same time, Ivorian authorities aim to increase this figure by a third by 2020. For comparison, one of the Russian industry leaders, local group "Polyus", produced over 67 tons of metal in the last year.

Analysts from expect the Ivory Coast to become a power-hub in the next few years thanks to updated in 2014 mining code and strong infrastructure development. Fitch Solutions Macro Research experts also forecast a 15.6% growth for Côte d'Ivoire's mining sector by 2021.

In the context of constant production growth in the country, the shortage of qualified personnel becomes one of the biggest issues. For this reason, Côte d'Ivoire’s Government has become strongly interested in ensuring that young people receive a high quality education abroad and then return home and contribute to the development of the country’s economy.

According to Rossotrudnichestvo, at the beginning of this academic year there were more than 1 380 applications from Côte d'Ivoire enrollees. At the same time, there were only 56 study places available. The most popular study programmes were the ones related to Economics, Applied Geology, Mining and Oil and Gas Engineering.