Sunday, March 31, 2019

Why Africa Controls 75% of Cocoa Export But Less Than 5% of Chocolate Export Market

When will Africa stop this modern slavery? It is my opinion that exportation of either hard (solid minerals) or soft (Agric) commodities is modern slavery. As a matter of fact, a commodity exporter export jobs out of the country and imports poverty into the country.

Africa is the largest producer and exporter of Cocoa in the world but most Chocolate you see and buy in different parts of the world do not carry made in any African country. They mainly carry made in Germany, Italy, USA, Belgium, Poland etc. Even though the raw materials are from Africa, the name of commodity exporters goes into oblivion when value is added to the product.

The market size of Cocoa is $9.35 Billion while that of Chocolate is $26.5 Billion. The market size of Chocolate triples that of Cocoa, yet the focus of African countries is commodity export. African countries together controls more 70% of cocoa export in the world but it is sad to say that it only controls less than 5% of the Chocolate export markets around the world. How come the countries that import Cocoa, the raw materials for Chocolates, from Africa, are the ones producing more Chocolates? 

Why is Africa producing what it does not consumes and consumes what it does not produce? Why does African leaders pride themselves in economic diversification into Agriculture when majority of the Agriculture products are exported as raw commodities? Cote D'Ivoire is the largest exporter of Cocoa controlling about 40% in the world market but only export about 0.5% of Chocolates. 

According to, a turn key system of machinery that can process from 250-400kg/day of Cocoa Beans to Chocolate Bar will cost about EUR100,000. This simply means that a lot of SMEs can process Cocoa to Chocolate for export. So what really is the problem? It cannot be funds because a lot of SMEs can afford this machinery. It cannot be raw materials because they are found in abundant in Africa. It cannot be personnel because there is a huge population and cheap labour in Africa and it cannot be land because most of the lands in Africa have not been put to any productive use. 

What exactly could be the problem? I think it is a problem of the mindset. A mindset with short term orientation. A mindset that wants instant gratifications. A mindset that follows after the examples of the leadership that discourage commodity export in words but encourage commodity export indeed. A mindset that is selfish and self-centered and not developmental in its approach. A mindset that thinks only of today and never plan for posterity.

So I strongly believe that there is need for a reorientation of businessmen who are into commodity export in order to help them to begin to see the importance of value addition in exportation because this will give more value to their businesses, and more impact in their community via employment generation and growth the larger economy of the nation in general.

Bamidele Ayemibo

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