With compliments and warm greetings from the Côte d’Ivoire – Ghana Cocoa Initiative, I first want to thank the Government of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire and of Ghana for the trust in my person to run this institution.
I am profoundly grateful to the Government of the Republic of Ghana, first for accepting the responsibility of hosting the Headquarters of the Initiative, and for all the facilities granted to enable the Initiative function. I also express my gratitude to Le Conseil du Café – Cacao (CCC) and the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) for the excellent hospitality they have offered me since my appointment.
As Executive Secretary, I am immensely pleased to share this message with you, our stakeholders and partners who are solidly behind us, particularly the two Heads of States. Their vision was to join the forces of the two (2) countries in the context of unfavorable market conditions to pool their resources together to make the hardworking farmers in both countries to be decently remunerated. Thus, their vision has birthed this great partnership that we see today. I am aware of the high expectations of the two Presidents on this partnership; H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and H.E. Alassane Ouattara and as Executive Secretary, my mission is to execute this vision by working closely and together with Le Conseil du Café Cacao (CCC) and Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD).
In the current process of widespread call for a decent living income for the cocoa farmer, and sustainable cocoa production; I assure all concerned that sustainable cocoa production and a decent income for the cocoa farmer is indeed not just a commitment on the part of the Initiative to drive, but it is a human right in itself, which is our topmost goal. As the Chief Administrator of this partnership by the two top cocoa producing countries, the goal and vision is to move from the exportation of raw cocoa beans to a stage of driving processing and more consumption of cocoa in our respective countries and to a large extent, on our Continent. The numbers are there to tell us that the African market, if well harnessed, is big enough to push this agenda of processing and consumption on the continent. The advent of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) presents us with a great opportunity to further the partnership and collaboration to an even bigger platform. It is important for this partnership with the two countries, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, to consolidate the achievements and build a framework to bring transformation to the sector and build, as a stepping stone, the tools to achieve the accession of other cocoa producing countries to the Initiative.
We are now in an ever-changing market environment. In such a situation, we firmly believe that “trust” is the key element in persuading our stakeholders and partners to choose our quality products and buy into the vision of making every hardworking cocoa farmer make decent earning. We totally accept that “trust” can create a “Win-Win Situation” for a long deeper relationship. In addition, the Initiative is fully committed to help in creating sustainable cocoa production, while educating and engaging the farmers on environmental awareness for the purpose of mitigating climate changes and preventing resource depletion. We are committed to the preservation of the environment we live in. So, in summary, achieving a sustainable cocoa sector is a top national priority for Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.
I would like to thank again all those who have contributed relentless hard work and effort in the past to bring us here today and we will continue to grow for years to come. We will continue to foster and defend the common interest of member countries and continue to be the bridge between our partners, donors and the international cocoa market. Together, “WE CAN” tackle and solve all the challenges that exist or may arise. We, as an organization, commit to make this partnership work for the good of all! May the years ahead be very prosperous and productive for each one of us —– so that together we can build solid partnerships and collaborations!