Ghana’s Embassy in China, in collaboration with the Hunan government, has opened an African Cocoa Marketing Center in central China’s Changsha city, connecting Africa to China’s fast-growing appetite for chocolate. The center has been hailed as the first of its kind in China, which is also a rising market for Africa’s coffee and tea.
According to CGTN AFRICA, “The African Cocoa Marketing Center, established in Changsha, provincial capital of Hunan, will start by selling cocoa mainly from Ghana before bringing in products from more African countries. The center has been hailed as the first for African cocoa in China, a rising market for the continent’s products from coffee to tea.” Ghana’s ambassador to China, Edward Boateng said that “I am confident that every tasty chocolate enjoyed in China has some quantity of Ghana’s premium cocoa as part of its ingredients.” He also disclosed that opening the center will help to enter into the Chinese market, where the African side is looking at how to partner the Chinese side to find new uses for cocoa in the newly created market other than just producing chocolate.
The new center will also possibly be a tariff-free zone for Ghanaian producers who will be entering China’s cocoa market. Ambassador Boateng stated that “We are going to engage the Chinese central government about having a zero free tariff for our products coming onto this market. We buy some of these chocolates not because they are any better than the ones we are producing, but because of the brand, packaging, and the way it is presented. We brought a lot of chocolate to China and for the first time, people tasted Ghanaian chocolate and they always tell you that this chocolate is delicious. This is because our chocolate is about 80 percent pure chocolate whereas a lot of the chocolates we buy have additives.”
Before launching the African Cocoa Marketing Centre, Africa Coffee Street, which is also dedicated to the sale of coffee and coffee products from African countries, was also unveiled. This street will serve as a one stop shop for people of Hunan and tourists to go and test coffee, cocoa and beverages from Africa, yfmghana.com noted
Head of Hunan Province’s commerce department Xu Xiangping, in a statement, said that the province aims to build a major trading and processing center for Africa’s farming products including cashew nuts, coffee, cotton, and rubber. Ghana’s dream to enter the Asian market with its range of cocoa products started to become a reality when the Ghana-China Cocoa International Exchange (GCCIE) was unveiled in the historic Chinese city of Changsha in the Hunan Province in 2018, citinewsroom.com reported. As the value of the China Africa trade ($185 billion in 2018, up from $155 billion in 2017) continues to increase steadily, so is the trade imbalance. In recent years, African countries like Ghana have therefore taken diverse measures, especially via agriculture exports, to reduce the huge trade deficit. Kenya has decided to grow its exports of other farm produce such as flowers, mangoes, french beans, peanuts, vegetables, meat, herbs, bixa, and macadamia to China.
Since China is the world’s industrial hub, Africa’s best bet to reduce its current trade deficit with China will be through agriculture (processed, semi-processed and unprocessed goods), as the continent remains heavily blessed in this sector.