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Ghana-Cote d’Ivoire establish CIGCI secretariat to boost joint cocoa sector growth initiative

The New CIGCI secretariat

Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, the two countries responsible for 65% of the world’s cocoa, have taken their quest to build vibrant cocoa sectors in their respective countries and to guarantee the income of cocoa farmers to a new high by establishing a permanent office to spearhead the interests of cocoa farmers.

Addressing attendees of the commissioning ceremony and official handing over of the Cote d’Ivoire-Ghana Cocoa Initiative (CIGCI) secretariat building at Roman Ridge, Accra on Thursday, 18 April 2024, President Akufo-Addo said there are common challenges that Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire face in the cocoa sector but with the establishment of the CIGCI, it is a major step to greater heights as envisaged by the strategic partnership agreement Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.

“It is important for me to reiterate that Ghana is proud to host the headquarters of this initiative. Our commitment to collective action for the attainment of prosperity for all in Africa remains undiminished. We believe our development lies in our collective efforts towards industrialization and fair trade within and outside the continent of Africa,” President Akufo-Addo remarked.

“Our quest for agro-industrialization is repositioning the dynamics of the agricultural sector. The cocoa sector in Ghana, in particular, is witnessing the impact of these changes. Today’s launch is truly historic. This beautiful edifice does not only signify what regional unity and cooperation can achieve, but it also represents our shared aspiration for a prosperous cocoa economy, one that is modernised and industrised in delivering wealth to the millions of hardworking cocoa farmers and producers in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.

“This cooperation is the beginning of a new chapter in the history of the African cocoa industry. We have, through this cooperation, created the opportunity to revolutionarise the cocoa supply chain for the delivery of greater value to our economies,” President Akufo-Addo further remarked.

Leadership and direction

Prime Minister of the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire S.E.M Robert Beugré Mambé, who represented the President of Cote d’Ivoire, President Alassane Ouattara, in his address noted in French that Côte d’Ivoire stands ready to work hand in hand with Ghana to ensure that cocoa farmers in the two West African States reap the full benefits of their labour. He added that his country will give the needed leadership direction to the CIGCI for her to achieve all its stated objectives.

Visible player

Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr Bryan Acheampong, who doubles as the Chairman of the CIGCI Steering Committee in his opening remarks, noted that the Côte d’Ivoire-Ghana cocoa initiative is a clear example of how the cooperation between the two countries through their respective heads of state can overcome many challenges for the benefit of the two peoples of Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.

“The new office of the Côte d’Ivoire Ghana cocoa initiative is now fully operational and this commissioning further materialises the vision of the two-member countries’ heads of state, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and President Alassane Ouattara of Côte d’Ivoire, Dr Bryan Acheampong said.

“This institution is now a well-recognized, visible player in the cocoa sector with acknowledged contributions on a range of topics, including price, traceability, regulations, and market outlook,” the Food and Agriculture Minister added.

Background to CIGCI

The world cocoa market is characterised by pronounced volatility and a decline in prices in real terms of about 2% per year over the last half-century. Over the same period, value creation has been concentrated in the downstream segments of the market.

The differentiation of processed products has led to a relative stability of final prices, with a consequent decline in the price received by the producer as a percentage of the final price, now estimated at 5%. Once an economy of prosperity, the cocoa economy has become an economy of poverty for the millions of small-scale producers unable to earn a decent income.

The unsustainability of the economic model of this sector is coupled with a lack of environmental and social sustainability. This is evidenced by the erosion of forest cover due to the opening up of pioneering frontiers in many producing countries, as well as the use of child and forced labour.

Without correcting the many market failures, the cocoa economy is destined to become a counter-model of sustainability. Concerned by the economic, social, and environmental consequences of this state of affairs, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, which now account for more than 60% of world production, have chosen to transform the cocoa business model.

In partnership with importing countries, they have decided to correct the market failures one by one, so that the price reflects the social value of the product and ensures a decent remuneration for the producer as well as better environmental and social practices. There is now a consensus among economic actors that a remunerative price is the first milestone on the road to sustainable cocoa.

In the “Abidjan Declaration, made on 26 March 2018, Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, and Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana reaffirmed their willingness to define a common sustainable cocoa strategy on this basis, to increase the prices received by cocoa farmers in their respective countries in a sustainable way.

It is in this context that, to give substance to the political will of the two heads of state, the regional organisation known as the Côte d’Ivoire-Ghana Cocoa Initiative (CIGCI) was set up, with a Charter. The Secretariat, the operational body, is based in Accra, Ghana, and is permanently headed by an Executive Secretary of Ivorian nationality, appointed by Côte d’Ivoire. The organisation is expected to open up to other African cocoa-producing countries.

Main objectives

Essentially, the vision of CIGCI is to transform the current cocoa sector into a prosperous and sustainable one in line with the common ambition shared by most operators to provide decent wages to cocoa producers, contribute to the protection of forests and biodiversity, and be exemplary in terms of fundamental social and human rights. The CICGI has six main objectives that drive its mandate.

They are the first to achieve remunerative prices and improve the livelihoods of cocoa farmers. Secondly, to process, promote, and enhance the consumption and utilization of cocoa. Thirdly, to promote, foster, and defend the common interest of member countries in the international cocoa market and at all relevant international fora.

The fourth objective of the CICGI is to learn, innovate, and collaborate in tackling challenges facing cocoa production. Fifthly, share scientific, economic, and technical information on cocoa for mutual benefit and, lastly, to harmonize cocoa production and marketing policies of member countries.

Reporting by Wilberforce Asare in Accra

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