AfDB urges Africa to process cocoa, produce chocolate

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has advised that it is time to process cocoa and produce chocolate in Africa, and to end the continent being at the bottom of global value chains.

AfDB said there is huge opportunity for Africa, the largest producer of cocoa in the world, to rake in economic value that the global market offers.

It identified cocoa as the main ingredient for chocolates which come in all shapes and sizes.

And the demand for chocolate will most likely continue to increase, according to experts, AfDB said.

Africa produces about 75 percent of the world’s cocoa, but the region faces a daunting paradox.

Though it accounts for a majority of the world’s cocoa production, Africa gets just 5 percent of the US$100billion annual chocolate market value.

“Africa has been unable to extract a larger share of the global chocolate market value because it only exports raw cocoa beans.

“Africa is stuck at the bottom of the cocoa value chain, dominated instead of dominating, despite being the leading producer!” exclaims Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank.

Adesina said: “African farmers sweat, while other eat sweets. While the price of cocoa has hit an all-time low, profits of global manufacturers of chocolate have hit an all-time high.

The bank is leading a call to action on Africa’s agro-industrialisation, which is key to transforming the cocoa value chain.

“Africa must not be locked at the bottom…it must rapidly add value to what it leads the world in producing,” Adesina said.

“It is time for Africa to move to the top of the global food value chain, through agro-industrialisation and adding value to all of what it produces.”

The African Development Bank has prioritised industrialisation in its High 5 agenda. This could create an opportunity for African countries to add value to their raw materials. It is this regard that the Bank’s Annual Meetings for this year has the theme ‘Accelerating Africa’s Industrialisation’.

This year’s Easter celebration signals a further call to action for African cocoa producers to start producing chocolate to compete with countries like Belgium, Switzerland, the U.S. and France.

“This will not only bring in money, but also afford opportunities for the many cocoa farmers who are yet to taste chocolate in their entire life.”