Why Ghana remains poor if non-European cocoa growers are rich in chocolate industries

Cocoa 1 Cocoa-producing countries in West Africa, lack industries to enhance cocoa products

Wed, 8 Dec 2021 Source: Joel Savage, Contributor

Ghana used to be the highest cocoa-producing country in West Africa before the record was broken by Ivory Coast. Every year, large tons of cocoa beans leave the shores of Africa to Europe and the United States of America.

However, it is very sad to note that the large tons of cocoa beans leaving the ports of West Africa to Switzerland, Belgium, the Republic of Ireland, Germany, Denmark, and France, have made these countries very rich, while the African countries the beans are taken from remain very poor.

The cocoa trade between Africa and Europe continues to play a significant role in enhancing the economy of Europe, providing thousands of employment in the chocolate industry for their citizens, while it generates billions of Euros yearly.

Currently, five million tons of chocolate are produced every year and 70 percent of the beans come from the West African countries of Ivory Coast and Ghana, which means Europe, is contributing to the more than seven million metric tons consumed worldwide every year.

According to a report published by “Fior Markets,” the chocolate industry's worth is expected to increase to over 177 billion Euros by 2028, while African cocoa-producing countries, including Ghana, remain very poor with a high rate of unemployment, poor medical and health facilities.

Looking into the problems affecting Africa in general, apart from corruption which has underdeveloped the continent, the lack of good leadership has also affected the continent. It’s the biggest tragedy for any country that produces cocoa, yet its proceeds can neither create employment nor provide proper amenities for the benefit of the common people.

Cocoa beans are not only used for chocolate production, some companies in Europe are also able to produce cocoa body lotions, creams, soaps, drinking beverages, and biscuits.

Meanwhile, cocoa-producing countries in West Africa, lacked industries to enhance cocoa products, and the few that can produce, the people can't afford to buy them. Thus, Africa has cocoa yet it doesn't benefit the common people.

The story about Africa’s cocoa production remains a tragedy. Africa’s cocoa has benefits for foreign consumers and commodity traders, leading to the expansion of the chocolate industry.

That means more employment, more revenues, while thousands of cocoa farmers still living below the poverty line in Ghana. It is no longer a secret that cocoa is very much in favor amongst the biggest investors at the moment in Europe.

This must inspire African leaders to invest in the cocoa industry to create more jobs to reduce the current high unemployment in Ghana and also to generate more revenue.

The top countries responsible for the production of the world's chocolate are Germany, Belgium, Italy, Poland, and Switzerland, accounting for over 40% of the world's total chocolate exports.

These countries don’t plant cocoa but remain the richest countries in chocolate production in Europe, so why a country like Ghana, the second-largest cocoa exporter in West Africa should remain poor?

Until African countries have effective leaders and stop the corruption, Europe and America will continue to benefit from Africa’s resources, while the continent will continue to wallow in poverty.

Columnist: Joel Savage, Contributor