When it comes to comparing what comes in and out from Africa, there is always a confusing imbalance.
The global cocoa industry is approximately worth $100 billion. Africa produces 75% of the cash crop but surprisingly benefits only 2% from the multi billion dollar industry.
When it comes to natural resources, Africa is incredibly wealthy; beyond imagination. But when it comes to the returns from these natural resources, the continent only gets to keep peanuts.
It looks like a serious joke that out of $100 billion, Africa as a continent gets $2 billion. The margin is quite unbelievable. It’s almost as if Africa runs a charity organisation with the cocoa seeds.
Recall that before the oil and gas craze, many African countries banked on the profits of their cash crops. West Africa particularly developed their economy with the returns they obtained from cocoa exports. Ivory Coast currently leads in cocoa production in the world.
Of the 10 cocoa producing nations of the world, 4 are African countries – Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon. The global cocoa industry all together produces about 5 million metric tonnes of cocoa in a year.
Out of that, Ivory Coast produces about 1.7 million metric tonnes; and other African nations cumulatively produce well over 1.5 million metric tonnes.
Sadly we do not get much for our quality natural resources. And we wonder, how in the world did this happen? Is the missing piece here in Africa or the international community?
Is it possible that we produce and export in tonnes only to ignore the crop’s potential for the African market? Up until now, there were small numbers of manufacturers who fancied the product. Many cocoa farmers just produced them with the primary aim of exporting them out. Perhaps if we discovered the multiple uses of the product, it would not have gone so cheaply to yield cheap results for the African economy.
More often than not Africa is economically known as the continent that does not use what it produces and does not produce what it uses. With an ironic system like that, Africa will always be ripped off of her natural wealth. We seem to be blind to our own worth. We produce and export; only to turn back and purchase the same things we exported out.
The cocoa crop is a quintessential ingredient in making chocolates, beverages, coffee, soaps, confectioneries, cosmetics amongst others. There is so much that Africa’s budding industries can do with the world wide famous cash crop. Perhaps when we begin to maximize our resources and become more patriotic, things will change for the better.