From the 4th to the 6th October 2019, the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) will host the maiden edition of the African Cocoa & Chocolate Expo (ACCE) in the heart of the nation’s capital, Accra.
For three days, this historic gathering would assemble and showcase innovations and achievements by entrepreneurs and change-makers in the cocoa value-chain in Africa, at the Accra Tourist Information Centre, adjacent Afrikiko and the French Embassy.
Hundreds of cocoa and chocolate lovers from Ghana, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Nigeria, UK, the Netherlands and the United States, among others are expected to participate.
Activities lined-up include a cocoa exhibition and demonstrations, panel discussions on cocoa innovations in Ghana, cocoa in skincare and cosmetics, tasting and sampling sessions and a seminar on the medicinal and nutritional benefits of cocoa.
For those looking for business opportunities in the cocoa sector to create jobs, especially the youth, ACCE is designed to reveal even more. As the Government of Ghana agency established in 1969 to give impetus to the development and promotion of Ghana’s exports, The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), is the Lead partner of the ACCE which seeks to showcase and applaud the innovative works of burgeoning cocoa entrepreneurs in Ghana and Africa.
Mad Afua Asabea Asare, the CEO of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), said that the objective is for ACCE to create opportunities for investments and technological advancement throughout the cocoa value chain, while at the same time bringing together industry leaders and the general public for knowledge, networking, celebration, and fun.
She reiterated that the vision is for this event which opens in the week of the national cocoa day (October 1) to become Africa’s premier cocoa and chocolate gathering by embracing all players in the cocoa value chain right from the hard-working farmer to the highly valued consumer and shedding light on innovation and growth opportunities on an annual basis.
She highlighted that her hope is for this event to achieve more local and international mileage for Ghana’s cocoa value chain such that the agenda of value addition and its accompanying brand positioning on the international market becomes entrenched.
The ACCE will also form a key part of GEPA’s 50th anniversary celebrations which have been underway throughout this year.
The event will open, free of charge, to all chocolate and cocoa products lovers, students and enthusiasts of cocoa, entrepreneurs, investors and the general public.
The Co-founder of CHOCOA, the largest cocoa and chocolate festival, Jack Steijn, who is also the Director of Equipoise is one of the high profile guests expected to attend the event on Sunday.
Nana Aduna II, Akyeamehene of Akuapem, a cocoa farmer and Director of the KYC Foundation who is the primary collaborator for the expo, explained that the expo is a not-for-profit initiative aimed at creating exposure about the multiple uses and benefits of cocoa, Ghana’s leading agro-export commodity.
He noted, globally that consumption events around cocoa have focused largely on chocolate, and are invariably hosted in Europe or North America.
However, according to him, recent action on the global market by Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, the world’s two leading cocoa producers, has turned the spotlight on the need for a paradigm shift in how we support cocoa farmers and organise trade.
“The ACCE intends to capitalise on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement to extend and expand the use and consumption of cocoa. Cocoa is a commodity with no peer in Africa in terms of value and sheer volumes produced. The crop has many uses besides making chocolate”, Nana Aduna II opined.
On the sidelines of the first-ever African Cocoa and Chocolate Expo, the Ghana Tourism Authority, partners to the event, would launch the Cocoa Ecotourism Initiative hoped to drive tourists’ interest to the world-acclaimed premium Ghana cocoa.
Solidaridad West Africa, also a major sponsor of the ACCE will host the panel discussions on Friday, 4th which will include Youth and Women in Cocoa and cover prospects ad opportunities in the cocoa industry.
Other collaborators are Ohene Cocoa, the Cocoapreneurship Institute of Ghana and Cocoa Post.