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Business News of Thursday, 29 July 2021

Source: thebftonline.com

Let’s ride on the back of AfCFTA to boost cocoa value addition – Mene

Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Area Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Area

The Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) secretariat, Wamkele Mene, says full implementation of the agreement will help cocoa-producing countries on the continent add value to their cocoa beans to boost revenue generation.

Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria account for 68 percent of the global cocoa supply.

Collectively, they produced 3.4 million tonnes out of a worldwide total of 5 million tonnes of the cocoa supply between 2019 to 2020.

However, Africa’s cocoa-producing countries capture just 3% of global chocolate industry revenue since they continue to sell the product unprocessed.

Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire are the top cocoa producers in the world and responsible for producing up to 60 percent of the world’s cocoa, but receive less than 6 percent of the global US$100billion processed cocoa market share.

To avert this, and as part of the efforts to earn better income from the industry, both countries are considering value-added processing and marketing or trading of processed cocoa.

In line with the above, Mr. Mene sought to address the problem during his four-day visit to Cote d’Ivoire and solicited support to build on the framework of Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana to further support cocoa value chain.

“As the AfCFTA secretariat, this presents an opportunity to support the value chains as the secretariat is in contact with the Buhler Group and the respective governments.

“As a quick win and a pilot project, it is proposed the AfCFTA brokers the required financing arrangement with Afreximbank and negotiate with the Buhler Group on the required support for both Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, so as to provide a better deal and advocate for a tripartite agreement that involves the AfCFTA secretariat.”

The AfCFTA Secretary-General further reiterated the importance of mutual support between Cote d’Ivoire and the AfCFTA secretariat in advancing the interests of the AfCFTA.

Mr. Mene was in the francophone country at the instance of President Alassane Ouattara.

He was accompanied by officials of the AfCFTA secretariat – including Senior Advisor to the Secretary-General, Peter Joy Sewornoo, and Senior Advisor-Customs, Demitta Gyang.

This is his first official visit to the country since assuming office.

As the world’s leading top exporter of cocoa and raw cashew nuts, a net exporter of oil and having a significant manufacturing sector, Cote d’Ivoire is the largest economy in the UEMOA region.

With abundant natural resources, a relatively young population of about 26 million, Cote d’Ivoire has strong potential for sustained economic expansion.

Cote d’Ivoire is one of the four developing countries in West Africa.

It is a State Party to the AfCFTA Agreement, having signed the Agreement in Kigali, Rwanda, on 21st March 2018, and became a State Party on 23 November 2018.

Cote d’Ivoire has submitted its initial tariff and services offers through ECOWAS. The francophone country was led in the AfCFTA negotiations firstly by Mr. Seydou Waoti, secondly by Ms. Fatumata Fofana and now Clemence Konan.

The Minister of Trade, Industry and SME Promotion is Mr. Souleymane Diarrassouba.

Cote d’Ivoire has established a National Committee for the Implementation of the AfCFTA, and developed a national strategy that enables it to benefit from the AfCFTA Agreement.