Prof. Afoakwa appointed chairman of Ghana Cocoa Awards board


International cocoa and chocolate scholar Professor Emmanuel Ohene Afoakwa has been appointed chair of the 3-member Advisory and Awarding Board of Ghana Cocoa Awards, an industry awards scheme.

Professor Afoakwa, who is also Interim Vice-Chancellor of Ghana Communication Technology University, shares the board with another scholar of the global cocoa and chocolate industry, Dr. Kristy Leissle, and acclaimed management consultant, Mr. Stephen Essien.

Announcing the appointments, Founder and Events Director of Ghana Cocoa Awards, Mr. Kojo Hayford, said the three eminent persons comprising the advisory and awarding board between them have decades of knowledge and expertise in cocoa, chocolate and business management.

“It is our expectation that our distinguished Board will bring to bear their wealth of knowledge and accomplishment in identifying for recognition outstanding personalities, innovators and organisations achieving excellence in the Ghana cocoa industry value chain,” Mr. Hayford noted.

He said cocoa contributes some US$2billion annually to the economy of Ghana, and this is made possible by the combined effort of our respected cocoa farmers and a complex chain of hardworking non-farming actors.

According to him: “It is to recognise and celebrate the achievement and committed contribution of non-farming industry players in the cocoa sector that the Ghana Cocoa Awards initiative was instituted. The scheme serves as a complement to the Ghana Cocoa Board’s longstanding tradition of acknowledging and rewarding hard-working cocoa farmers at the district, regional and national levels yearly”.

Accepting the appointment, Professor Afoakwa – who is also the Chief of Fiapre Traditional Area in the Bono Region of Ghana intimated: “I am pleased and humbled to be appointed as Chairman of the Advisory and Awarding Board of Ghana Cocoa Awards”, adding, “I wish to congratulate VC Media Ghana for this great initiative of creating a platform that will recognise excellence, motivate industry and serve as a networking platform for players within Ghana’s Cocoa industry”.

He was convinced that: “Ensuring the sustainability of cocoa production is critical to our national economic growth, and I believe these heroes that have gone unnoticed for far too long will be excited by the recognition. I promise to bring on board my rich expertise and knowledge that will help expand the Ghana Cocoa Awards’ horizon, and also tap into my huge international networks to support this great initiative”.

Background of Board Members

Professor Ohene Afoakwa is a specialist in Cocoa and Chocolate Technology, and Consultant to many national and international organisations on Cocoa and Chocolate Affairs.

He is also the author of two world reference books on Cocoa and Chocolate: namely Cocoa Production and Processing Technology, and Chocolate Science and Technology.

Dr. Kristy Leissle has been a researcher and writer on the global cocoa and chocolate industries since 2004. She has researched in the US, Europe, South East Asia and the Caribbean, but the main area of her work is in West Africa.

Dr. Leissle’s 2018 book Cocoa dealt with cocoa geopolitics, and one that she is currently writing looks at Africa’s contributions to global chocolate both historically and today.

She is a Co-Founder of the Cocoapreneurship Institute of Ghana, and Affiliate Faculty in African Studies at the University of Washington.

Mr. Stephen Essien is a commercial leader, passionate about technology and service innovation that change lives, and improves stakeholders and shareholders value.

In the last 20 years, he has witnessed and built different Business Strategies, innovative projects and has seen the impact it has on business profitability in different industries. Known in the Ghanaian telecommunication circles as Chairman Essien, he was the Director of Customer operations for tiGo Ghana and later Director of tiGo Business.

He is currently Managing Director of ZOLA Electric’s Ghanaian subsidiary, ZEGHA Energy.

Award categories cut across artisanal cocoa value addition and innovation, agro-inputs, sustainability, internal marketing, processing, manufacturing, consumption promotion, among others.

Ghana Cocoa Awards 2019

The maiden edition of Ghana Cocoa Awards came off in November 2019 at the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel.

The Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Hon. Joseph Boahen Aidoo, emerged winner of the ultimate award – The Cocoa Personality of the Year. The COCOBOD boss also shared the Cocoa Farmer Income Sustainability Honorary Award with his Ivorian counterpart, Mr. Yves Brahima Kone, the Director-General of Conseil du Café-Cacao.

Other recipients included a former president of Ghana, H.E. John Agyekum Kufuor for the Lifetime Achievement Honorary Award; Mrs. Yaa Peprah Amekudzi of Cocoa Life Ghana (Mondelez International), winner of the Sustainability Personality of the year; Managing Director-Niche Cocoa Industry Ltd., Mr. Edmund Poku, winner of the Cocoa Entrepreneur of the Year; and Mr. Justice Baidoo of Joy News, Journalist of the Year.

Mr. Ray Ankrah, Deputy Chief Executive (F&A) COCOBOD; Hon. Joseph Boahen Aido, Chief Executive-COCOBOD; Mr. Kojo Hayford (Founder, Ghana Cocoa Awards); Mr. Fiifi Boafo (Public Affairs Mgr.-COCOBOD); Mr. Asamoah Frimpong, Dir. of Audit-COCOBOD

Nominations for the 2nd Ghana Cocoa Awards are open till 16th October 2020, and entries may be submitted on the official event website


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