The Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Haile Mariam Desalegn, says there is the need for African countries to add value to their primary commodities before exporting them.
This, he said, is a sure way of creating jobs for the people and improving the economies of African countries.
Mr. Desalegn said this when he toured the Cocoa Touton Processing Ghana Ltd in the Free Zones Enclave in Tema.
President John Mahama accompanied the PM and his wife, Roman Tesfaye to visit the enclave in Tema.
The tour formed part of activities that marked Prime Minister Desalegn’s three-day state visit to Ghana.
The Cocoa Touton Processing Ghana Ltd is a subsidiary of the Touton Group which is one of the world’s largest traders in cocoa, coffee, vanilla, spices and a variety of ingredients, using a network of exporting subsidiaries.
Speaking to journalists after the tour of the plant, Mr Desalegn said he was impressed with the operations at the factory.
He said adding value to produce before exporting it will not only generate more foreign exchange but also create jobs, which remained a major challenge for many African countries.
“I have seen that our agenda to create more jobs and add value to our products has been much realised in Ghana, and it will be a very good example and lesson for Africa to learn,” he said.
For his part, President Mahama, said adding value to the country’s cocoa will generate more employment and increase the local consumption of cocoa, as well as in other parts of the world.
He said Ghana and Ethiopia shared some similarities, stressing that while Ghana is one of the world’s leading producers of cocoa, Ethiopia is a leading producer of coffee.
Welcoming the dignitaries to the factory, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Touton Group, Mr Olivier Lieutard, stressed the importance of both Ghana and Ethiopia to the operations of the company.
He explained that while Touton had been trading in Ghana’s cocoa, the group had also been trading with Ethiopia in coffee over the past 10 years, adding that Ghana and Ethiopia produced premium quality cocoa and coffee in the world.
The Managing Director of Cocoa Touton Processing Ghana Ltd, Mr Patrick Davailleau, said the Touton Group acquired the factory in April 2015 with an initial investment of $17 million.
He said the company was producing 30,000 tons of processed cocoa, which it exported to Europe, USA and the Middle East.
The turnover of the company is $80 million and it employs 135 people including three expatriates.
On what attracted Touton to invest in Ghana, Mr. Davailleau said the quality of Ghana’s cocoa was one of the factors responsible for the company’s decision to invest in the local economy.
He said political stability and the friendly social environment in Ghana had contributed to give security and visibility to the investor.
He also commended the Ghana Cocoa Board, the Ghana Investment Promotion Council (GIPC) and the Ghana Free Zones Board for their support for the company, which he said had enabled it to operate at optimum capacity since its establishment.
Mr. Devailleau said it Is the expectation of management to increase the factory’s capacity from processing of 30,000 to 60,000 tons of beans in the next five years, as well as expand the product range to include butter and cake.
He said it was also their expectation to increase their investment to $50 million and attain a turnover of about $200 million.
The Ethiopian PM and his wife has since returned home.
Source: Daily Graphic