EVENTS OF THE ACP COUNTRIES IN BELGIUM: Cocoa and coffee trade event by the Embassy of Ghana in Brussels

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On 26th and the 27th September, 2022, the Embassy of Ghana in Brussels launched a panel discussion and tasting event about the cocoa and coffee sectors of the country. In Partnership with the Organization of Africa, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) and the Government of Ghana, the International Trade Centre (ITC) has been implementing the European Union (EU) funded “ACP Business-friendly: Supporting value chains through inclusive policies, investment promotion and alliances” programme through the Alliances for Action (A4A) initiative focusing on value addition, better incomes and market development for the cocoa and coffee sectors in ACP countries, including Ghana. These last few years, Ghana has made significant progress in developing sustainable value chains and is keen to showcase these achievements to other OACPS member states and the Brussels development community. The goal of the event was to shine a light on agricultural system transformation from bean to bar and seed to cup  one that can reposition sustainable value addition, investment and agri-entrepreneurship as a regional priority. Panel discussions between stakeholders from Ghana, the ACP region and the EU will serve to demonstrate that sustainable development can also achieve long-term economic growth, and to encourage other OACPS countries to adopt a similar approach.

A word with Hon. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Minister for Information of the Republic of Ghana “Ghana is one of the fastest growing economies in West Africa.

Between 2017 and 2019, Ghanaian economy grew on average about 7% year-on-year, as a result of a new frame-work for boosting investments and private sector operations on the economy coupled with a program of managing the macroeconomic environment in a very stable manner. The principal areas of growth in Ghana have been agriculture, industry and the fintech sectors. In agricultural sector, one of the strong traditional pillars is cocoa. Cocoa is the second highest foreign exchange of Ghana. Hundreds of thousands of families across the country depend on cocoa, as farmers and the government have been looking to expand cocoa production and increase the volume. We are currently producing 800 000 tons of cocoa per year, where our goal is now to reach 1 million. Another aspect of this cocoa expansion resides in the sustainability side local pro-cessing and local value addition. We want to step up the local production to 50% – which means there is a lot of room for investments in the processing sector. The government is undertaking an industrial program named “1 district 1 factory program” where incentives are put in place for the benefit of busi-nesses under the Ghanaian jurisdiction. On a partnership level, the new legislation that is now pushed by the European Union regarding climate change and sustainability within the context of cocoa, requires some reforms. Even though we are market leaders that are eager to do better, we need partner-ships to respond better to the current leg-islation and its requirements. The support we are receiving from the European Union Commission has so far helpied us to deal with issues such as deforestation, labor rights and climate change. Beyond what the EU Commission and the ACP are doing through structures such as the ITC, we see a clear opportunity for Belgian and European com-panies that are in the processing of cocoa and coffee, to join us in Ghana, not only to mainstream these operations that are being piloted, but also to invest heavily in the pro-cessing. This will be a win-win-win situation for all of us.”

A word with Her Excellency Mrs Sena Siaw-Boateng, Ambassador and Head of Mission of Ghana in The Kingdom of Belgium, The Grand-Duchy of Luxemburg and the European Union regarding the help offered by the representation to Belgian companies willing to invest in Ghana:

“The Embassy is safeguarding Ghana’s bilateral and multilateral interests in Brussels. Since 2019, the Embassy decided to pro-ject more of the bilateral engagement by organizing high-level visits to Belgium and Luxemburg. In December 2021, the Embassy facilitated a Trade Mission to Accra, which introduced Belgium’s regional trade agencies as well as Belgian businesses to the Ghana market, all together under one umbrella. Many of the companies revisited Ghana and we offered the appropriate guidance to facilitate their endeavours. We are willing to collaborate with these companies and insti-tutions to share the appropriate information on the Ghanaian market.“