The managing director of the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), Abba Bello, has promised to support stakeholders in the cocoa value chain on the continent so they may obtain value for what they produce in the global space.
Bello made this known while speaking as a special guest at the 2020 Cocoa Festival Virtual Conference, themed “Transforming the Cocoa Industry for Impact with Focus on African Continental Free Trade Area.”
He expressed worry over cocoa production in Africa, disclosing that the global worth of cocoa stands at $130 billion and that only 10 percent of all international cocoa revenue goes to Africa, putting it in last place in terms of financial benefit.
A majority of the hundreds of thousands of West African cocoa farmers, who provide most of the cocoa used as chocolate’s key ingredient, live in poverty while the global chocolate industry takes in billions of dollars annually.
About 70 percent of the world’s total supply of cocoa is produced in West Africa, with Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana being the largest producers, followed by Nigeria and Cameroon.
“Today, 95 percent of cocoa produced is exported as beans and that make us (Africa) to be at the bottom of the value chain, so we are out of trade, and that does not speak well for Africa and indeed job creation and value that comes from the foreign exchange,” Bello said.
“To come back home to Nigeria, there is an urgent need for us to diversify into other products that will yield foreign exchange for the country. We have identified that, but we have not built enough capacity to ensure that other products produced enough to cushion any effect on oil industry fluctuation.”
Bello added that NEXIM is partnering with the African Export-Import Bank to create a regional and continental value chain through the provision of a $1-billion fund under a program called the Nigeria-Africa Trade and Investment Promotion Program.