Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Ivorian Prime Minister Robert Beugré Mambé inaugurate headquarters of the Côte d’Ivoire-Ghana Cocoa Initiative (CIGCI) Secretariat in Accra

On April 18, 2024, the President of Ghana Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and the Prime Minister of Côte d’Ivoire, Robert Beugré Mambé jointly inaugurated the Permanent Office of the Côte d’Ivoire-Ghana Cocoa Initiative (CIGCI), in Accra, Ghana.

The historic event represents a key milestone in the two West African countries’ cooperation efforts to improve the cocoa industry’s sustainability and efficiency, to recall the progress made in terms of collaboration between the world’s two largest cocoa producers, and above all to move ahead with the Initiative’s ongoing objectives amid current market trends.

 

President Akufo-Addo, in his keynote address, called for stronger collaboration among African cocoa-producing countries to deal with emerging challenges posed by the recent increase in global cocoa prices.

 

He highlighted the pivotal role of cocoa in the economies of both countries and the need for concerted efforts to address shared challenges facing the industry.

 

“In light of recent regulations governing cocoa supply, especially to the European Union, collaborative efforts between Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire are essential to establish unified positions and safeguard the interests of our farmers.

 

“It is imperative for this collaboration to address proactively these challenges, reinforcing the need for cohesive action. We anticipate that this collective initiative will pioneer the way forward for the cocoa industry,” he emphasized.

 

The President reaffirmed Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire’s commitment to strengthening their cocoa cooperation.

 

He said the initiative was a testament to the enduring bond between Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire and the beginning of a new chapter in the history of the African cocoa industry.

 

President Akufo-Addo stated that the Initiative’s headquarters in Accra represented not only what regional unity and cooperation could achieve, but also the two countries’ shared aspiration for a prosperous cocoa economy.

 

“This beautiful edifice does not only signify what regional unity and cooperation can achieve. it also represents our shared aspiration for a prosperous cocoa economy, one that is modernized and industrialized and delivers wealth to the millions oof hardworking cocoa farmers and producers in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.

 

“We are through this cooperation creating the opportunity to revolutionize the cocoa supply chain for the delivery of greater value to our economies,” he said.

 

The President stated that the current international cocoa market justified the two countries’ course of action, which between them are responsible for 65 percent of global cocoa output and are at the center of the international cocoa trade.

 

He noted that with the current peak in market prices, a new set of obstacles had emerged, forcing a rethink of previous strategies to sustain or avoid price drops.President Akufo-Addo remarked that the two countries’ commitment to collective action to achieve prosperity for all in Africa remained unwavering.

He emphasized that growth was dependent on a concerted effort to industrialize and promote fair trade both within and outside of Africa.

 

On his part, the Ivorian Prime Minister Robert Beugré Mambé, who represented President Alassane Ouattara of Côte d’Ivoire, said he was happy that the two countries have demonstrated their collaboration who’s main mission is to achieve decent income for cocoa producers. He said that Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire have lived by the popular African proverb, “alone we go fast, but together we go further”, since 2018 when the Cocoa Initiative was created, and added that “The implementation of the Living Income Differential, which makes it possible to reach a floor price, has survived attacks, criticism and attempts to circumvent it.”

 

A new secretariat means more resources for the Côte d’Ivoire-Ghana Cocoa Initiative. This is enough to face the new challenges of the market, such as the price per ton exceeding 10,000 dollars. Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo Addo, insists: “This underscores the importance of the Côte d’Ivoire-Ghana Cocoa Initiative. New challenges have emerged, requiring a revision of our original approach, to sustain and avoid a decline in prices,” he added.

 

In his welcome address, Dr Bryan Acheampong, Ghana’s Minister for Agriculture, said the new office is a clear example of how the cooperation between our two countries can overcome many challenges for the benefit of their peoples and nations.  He continued that CIGCI is now a well-recognized, visible player in the cocoa sector, with acknowledged contributions on a range of topics which include price, traceability, regulations, and market outlook.

He added that the Initiative, which started as a convener and is now an agenda setter, paving the way in discussions on price and living income for cocoa farmers.

 

The Ivorian Minister of State for Agriculture, Adjoumani Kouassi, commended the initiative’s collaborative approach, crediting it with boosting cocoa sector prices and benefitting all stakeholders.

 

Mr. Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Chief Executive of the Ghana Cocoa Board, disclosed that the secretariat building was donated by the Ghanaian government as part of its commitment to the initiative’s success.

H.E. Mr. Alex Assanvo, the Executive Secretary of CIGCI, thanked the presidents of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire and said five years after the Abidjan Declaration, history shows that the two presidents were right and visionary. He said the initiative has helped to reaffirm the goal of placing the producer back at the heart of the cocoa value chain and an opportunity to advocate for a “new generation” of cocoa – one that guarantees a decent living for producers and fosters a sustainable cocoa industry.

 

He added that the attainment of the Living income differential had survived attacks and the attempts to seek retribution, and the idea had now become an example for the whole world. He also urged cocoa buyers to recognize cocoa as a premium commodity and provide fair pricing that reflects its true value.

 

The ceremony was attended by high-level representatives from both countries’ agricultural ministries, cocoa regulatory bodies, farmers, technical teams, government officials, traditional authorities, members of the diplomatic corps, civil society organizations, and artisanal chocolate makers.

 

This collaboration between Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire signifies their commitment to empower cocoa farmers and achieve a more equitable cocoa trade landscape.

 

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the Ivorian Prime Minister Robert Beugré Mambé planted two symbolic cocoa trees to climax the commissioning.

 

Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the Ivorian Prime Minister Robert Beugré Mambé (left) after symbolically planting a cocoa tree at the new headquarters of the Côte d’Ivoire-Ghana Cocoa Initiative, in Accra, April 18, 2024.

 

 

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