Ivory Coast and Ghana grow more than half of the world’s cocoa beans but they barely get a look in on the chocolate industry.
The global chocolate industry is worth aproximately $100bn but African producers make only around 8% of that, according to the International Cocoa Organisation.
Two entrepreneurs who are trying to make chocolate in the countries where the beans are grown gave me an insight into the barriers they face.
Axel Emmanuel makes 12 tonnes of chocolate a year in his factory in Ivory Coast, but wants to expand to make 100 tonnes a year.
He told me that the bank just didn’t consider chocolate something worth investing in.
“We had an email from [the British Supermaket] Tesco – they also want it! But I showed it to the bank, but the bank don’t believe in the project. They say there isn’t a market for chocolate. They are not ready to invest.”
Another challenge is that the demand for chocolate in the places that cocoa grows, is still quite low.
Sisters Kim and Priscilla Addison started their own production line in Ghana because they couldn’t understand why chocolate was being imported:
“Chocolate is imported, dog food is imported, tomatoes are imported, things that we can even grow here are imported and we couldn’t understand why being such a fertile country, rich in resources, rich in potential, we were relying heavily on imports, relying on other countries to feed us,” Kim told me.
But once they started making the chocolate, they found that the majority of their customers were outside of the country.
“We get a lot of orders from the United States we get a lot of orders from Europe from places like the UK and Germany, we got orders from Japan, one of our most unique orders was actually from Syria.”