President Alassane Ouattara said Ivory Coast aims to produce half of the world’s cocoa by 2020 and that he won’t make the mistake of overwhelming the nation with debt to sustain growth like other nations in Africa. He said one of his priorities for the next five years is to increase domestic processing of its biggest exports, cocoa and cashew nuts. Ivory Coast is also the largest African exporter of bananas.
“I want to work on transforming the Ivorian economy,” he said “We’re an agricultural economy, but we need to step up processing of our crops and even move toward industrialization. We will continue to boost our production, there is no limit and I hope we can surpass 50% of global production in 2020 while continuing to improve the quality.” Ouattara, 73, said in an interview in his office in Abidjan, the commercial capital, on Wednesday following his landslide re-election last month.
“It’s the first time in a quarter of a century that we have had no violence during an election,” Ouattara said. “That means that we’ve turned the page of the 2010 crisis and now we can focus on what’s really important: improving the daily life of Ivorians.”
The nation’s share of global output will rise from about 45% now, Ouattara said. Ivory Coast is the world’s largest producer of cocoa and had a record crop of about 1.8 million tons in the 2014-2015 seasons. Since 2011, the government has guaranteed cocoa farmers a minimum price for their harvest and raised the minimum wage for other workers to 60,000 CFA francs ($98) from 36,000 francs.
The economy is forecast to expand by as much as 9% annually through 2020, a pace that is more than twice as fast as the average in sub-Saharan Africa, driven by household consumption, investment and exports as commodity-rich nations on the continent are slashing budgets and trying to raise money on the debt markets to plug revenue gaps from falling prices for exports such as oil and copper. The debt to gross domestic product (GDP) The ratio will be 40% to 50% from about 43%, he said, promising to raise as much as 20 trillion francs in public and private investment through 2020 to fund development projects.
“We’ve become very efficient in mobilizing foreign resources, and we will do that while maintaining the debt to GDP ratio,” he said. “We don’t want to overload Ivory Coast with debt.”
Ivory Coast (Côte D’Ivoire) leads the world in the production and export of the cocoa beans used in the manufacture of chocolate, as of 2012, supplying 33% of cocoa produced in the world. West Africa collectively supplies two-thirds of the world’s cocoa crop, with Ivory Coast leading production at 1.65 million tons, and nearby Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon and Togo produce additional 1.55 million tons. Ivory Coast overtook Ghana as the world’s leading producer of cocoa beans in 1978.
The primary non-African competitor of Ivory Coast is Indonesia, which went from having almost nonexistent domestic cocoa industry in the 1970s to becoming one of the largest producers in the market by the early 2000s. According to the UN FAO, Indonesia overtook Ghana and became the second-largest producer worldwide in 2006. Large chocolate producers such as Cadbury, Hershey’s, and Nestle buy Ivorian cocoa futures and options through EuroNext whereby world prices are set.