Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), at the Merdeka Palace, here, Monday, received President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger who is on a state visit to Indonesia on October 15-17, 2017.

The countries national anthems were played during a ceremony that also included a cannon salute to honor the president of Niger.

Foreign Affairs Minister Retno L. P. Marsudi, Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung, Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita, and Public Works and Public Housing Minister Basuki were present during the ceremony.

The two leaders held a discussion in the veranda of the palace.

Issoufou is visiting Indonesia for the first time since the two countries established diplomatic ties in 2011.

Jokowi was expected to convey Indonesias keenness to forge cooperation with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

ECOWAS comprises 15 states and has been defined as the region of West Africa since 1999.

Indonesia is eager to intensify relations with African countries, especially in the economic sector.

African countries have huge economic potential, with an average economic growth of five to six percent.

Several large Indonesian companies producing instant noodles and soaps have entered the African market.

Hence, Indonesia is keen to promote its other products in Africa, especially those of the strategic industry, such as aircraft and trains.

Moreover, the two countries were expected to discuss cooperation in the field of counterterrorism and also in capacity-building programs.

The trade volume between Indonesia and Niger is still low, reaching only US$9.7 million last year, most of which was Indonesias crude palm oil.

During a bilateral meeting with Niger, some agreements are expected to be inked, such as free visas for diplomatic and official passport holders and the establishment of a bilateral relation mechanism in the form of a Indonesia-Niger joint commission.(*)

Editor: Heru Purwanto
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