Africa produces about 75 percent of the world’s cocoa but the region faces a daunting paradox as it pertains turning this raw material into properly finished products. It is against this backdrop that the African Development Bank (AfDB) has advised that it is time to process cocoa and produce chocolate in Africa and to end the continent from being at the bottom of global value chains.
AfDB said there is a huge opportunity for Africa, the largest producer of cocoa in the world, to rake in economic value that the global market offers.
The bank identifying cocoa as the main ingredient for chocolates which comes in all shapes and sizes says the demand for chocolate will most likely continue to increase. Hence Africa should profit off this venture.
Though it accounts for a majority of the world’s cocoa production, Africa gets just 5 percent of the $100 billion annual chocolate market value.
Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank explains that “Africa has been unable to extract a larger share of the global chocolate market value because it exports just raw cocoa beans.
“Africa is stuck at the bottom of the cocoa value chain, dominated, instead of dominating, despite being the leading producer.”
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-industrialization, which is key to transforming the cocoa value chain.
“It is time for Africa to move to the top of the global food value chains, through agro-industrialization and adding value to all of what it produces,” Adesina added.
The African Development Bank has prioritised agro-industrialization 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 Industrialization.”
Though Africa produces and exports several other raw materials such as rubber, her biggest challenge till date has been with her inability to churn out industrialized products. With the pledged incessant support and involvement of the African Development Bank, it is expected that Africa’s agro-industrialization situation would experience a rapid growth.