Good News for Chocolate Lovers as Rains Boost Africa Cocoa Crops

  • Written by Super User
  • Category: News

 It’s a crucial time of the year for farmers in top producers Ivory Coast and Ghana as they prepare for the next harvest.

Workers harvest cocoa fruit in Agboville, Ivory Coast.
Photographer: Jose Cendon/Bloomberg

Farmers in the top two cocoa growers are upbeat about the next harvest after heavy rains in recent weeks helped support crop development.

It’s an important time of the year for farmers in Ivory Coast and Ghana—which together account for more than 60% of global cocoa production—as they prepare for the bigger of two annual harvests. The so-called main crop starts in October and runs through March in No. 1 grower Ivory Coast.

 Here’s where things stand so far:

Regional Weather

Conditions have been favorable for crops and are likely to mostly stay that way, said Drew Lerner, President of World Weather Inc. While rains have subsided for now, the wet season will return next month until the harvest starts, and then it’s “back to the more seasonally dry time again to support the harvest,” he said.

Either way, “it should be an average crop with maybe a slight bias towards better than average,” said Lerner.

“The crop is good and farmers are upbeat about the new season”

Still, there’s a threat that drier weather in August may have a negative effect on crops, according to Giacomo Masato, a meteorologist at Marex Spectron Ltd. While an earlier threat of El Nino has subsided, there’s an outlook for “cooler sea surface temperatures over the Gulf of Guinea” that also results in drier conditions, he said.

Not So Sweet

Cocoa futures have dropped on signs of ample supply

Source: ICE Futures U.S.

The favorable conditions in July and early August helped drive cocoa futures lower, on expectations of ample supply.  Citigroup Inc. analysts recently lowered their cocoa-price projection, citing improving weather in Ivory Coast and Ghana. 

Read: Cocoa’s OPEC Moment Puts Market on Track for Boom and Bust 

Ivory Coast and Ghana’s new plan to introduce a premium on the sale of their beans will probably result in increased cocoa planting, boosting supply over time, according to Edward George, an independent cocoa expert.

Cocoa in New York for December delivery dropped as much as 0.6% to $2,232 per ton on Tuesday, the lowest since March 22.

Ivory Coast 

Farmers in Ivory Coast are positive about the prospects for the upcoming harvest. Cocoa plantations look good, with lots of pods on the trees, said Moussa Tiendre, a grower in the southwestern town of Grabo.

Ivory Coast is on track to produce a record 2.3 million tons of cocoa in the current season that ends in September, according to the average estimate from three traders surveyed by Bloomberg.

Cocoa Crops

Ivory Coast's harvest is headed for a record this season

Source: International Cocoa Organization; 2018-19 is average of 3 traders' estimates

For the 2019-20 season, the crop will probably decline about 10% from this year’s bumper level but still remain historically high, at about 2 million tons, according to Charlie Sargeant, a broker at Volcap Trading Partners Ltd.

“It’s very dependent on rains, obviously a little bit of dryness is not going to help,” he said.


The second-largest producer is emerging from a difficult 2018-19 season, after an unusually severe outbreak of swollen shoot disease destroyed crops. The virus, which can deform cocoa pods and reduce yields, forced the cocoa regulator to twice reduce its estimate for the annual harvest, most recently to 800,000 tons, people familiar with the matter said previously.

For the upcoming season, the Ghana Cocoa Board is targeting a harvest of 950,000 tons, while Volcap’s Sargeant estimates it could reach about 960,000 tons.

Less Cocoa

Ghana's cocoa crop is expected to be the lowest in three years

Source: Ghana Cocoa Board, Bloomberg

NOTE: 2018-19 figure is an estimate

Farmers are also optimistic about the outlook. There’s been a good mix of rain and sunshine in the last month, said Alex Addae, who farms in Yakasi, on Ghana’s southwestern border with Ivory Coast.

“The crop is good and farmers are upbeat about the new season despite vast stretches of cocoa lands being hewn down because of the swollen shoot virus disease,” he said. “We are confident that the coming season will be more fruitful.”

What Bloomberg Intelligence Says

“Number 2 Ghana's soil appears to have enough moisture, but an improvement in dry weather over this month will be critical for the upcoming main harvest in Ivory Coast. The main crop in smaller grower Nigeria could also be threatened due to heavy rains” and humidity, which affects bean quality.

A cocoa shortfall is likely in the 2019-20 season, starting Oct. 1, amid supply risks due to unfavorable weather in some key regions across Western Africa, the region from where more than 70% of global beans are sourced, and still-strong global demand for chocolate (and as a result cocoa) particularly in emerging markets, despite deceleration from a high level.”

Diana Gomes, analyst.

In other West African producers: 


·         There’s been less rain, after near-daily showers a week earlier, allowing farmers to tend to their crops, applying insecticide and clearing undergrowth, said Emmanuel Nguile, a farmer in Ngoro, north of the capital, Yaounde. Temperatures have also been favorable, flowering continues and new pods are developing, he said. 


·         The weather is normal for this time, with about two hours of sunshine every day, followed by rain for a similar duration, said Columbus Bangtong, who farms near Ikom, in the southeast

·         While it started raining about two weeks ago, it’s still not enough to support cocoa development, said Kola Adeboyejo, a farmer in Idanre, the biggest growing area in the southwest.

— With assistance by Olivia Konotey-Ahulu, Ekow Dontoh, Pius Lukong, and Tolani Awere - Source: Bloomberg






Mobile Phones Are Replacing Bank Accounts in Africa

  • Written by Isaac Kwasi Adusei
  • Category: News

A service that allows people to withdraw or deposit cash by text has become an indispensable part of life.

Mobile money in Accra, Ghana. Photographer: Andre Janse Van Vuuren/Bloomberg

 It doesn’t look like the hub of an online bank. But that’s what the yellow and blue metal kiosk becomes when Albert Agane locks himself behind the metal bars every day at 6 a.m.


From his perch along a dusty suburban thoroughfare in Accra, the 28-year-old helps fellow Ghanaians withdraw or deposit cash for accounts they operate from their mobile phones. All they need do is text.

Mobile money is the fastest-growing source of income for wireless-network operators like MTN Group Ltd. and Vodafone Group Plc’s Safaricom unit, outpacing data since many Africans don’t have the latest smartphones. They need agents like Agane because ATMs and bank branches are out of reach, or too costly.

“In a village, where there are no banks, you can go to an agent and transact,” said Agane, who earns a commission of about 1 percent for moving as much as 20,000 cedis ($3,700) a day. “Once people have phones there’s no need for a bank account.”

The service has become an indispensable part of how Africa’s 1.2 billion people live, from buying funeral cover to borrowing money. The number of registered users in Ghana soared 11-fold between 2013 and 2017, International Monetary Fund data shows. Across the continent in Kenya, where it was pioneered, the value of such transactions amounts to almost half of gross domestic product, according to the World Bank.

Sub-Saharan Africa has more mobile-money accounts than anywhere else in the world with about 396 million registered users at the end of 2018, a 14% increase from a year earlier, according to the GSM Association. As it catches on around the world, South Asia saw 29% growth in 2018, and it was 38% for East Asia and the Pacific.

World Beater

Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for almost half the world's mobile-money accounts

Source: GSM Association State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money 2018

“There are a lot of partnership opportunities with immense revenue potential for both mobile-network operators and banks,” said Patrick Quantson, head of digital transformation at the Accra-based unit of Standard Bank Group Ltd., Africa’s largest lender. “The mass appeal of mobile-money services and the mode of delivery also presents an opportunity to scale financial products to all market segments, at incredibly lower costs.”

It’s easy to see why Agane—one of 182,000 mobile-money agents—is busier than the ATMs around Ghana’s capital city. There are more than 1,740 such outlets per 100,000 people in the country, compared with only 11.7 ATMs and 8.7 bank branches, the IMF data show.

Mobile-Money Maker

MTN Ghana's income from financial services has increased 10-fold since 2013

Source: MTN Ghana annual reports

“We’ve seen that people in the informal sector, who would have kept their money under pillows, move into mobile money,” said Eli Hini, general manager for mobile financial services at MTN Ghana, which controls about 78% of the active-customer market. “Now, when there are floods people don’t lose their money. They’d rather get interest paid on it.”

Also read: I.K Adusei Writes: Why Africa's Economy Needs Change

Banks don’t lose out because the mobile-phone companies park deposits with them, giving them cheaper access to funding.

MTN and Sanlam Ltd., Africa’s largest insurer, last month  announced that the continent’s biggest wireless network operator will offer funeral and other life-cover products through its digital channels spanning 237 million subscribers in 21 markets.

Read more: Equity Targets $4.2 Billion of Loans in Kenya Mobile-Banking Venture

Vodafone’s Johannesburg-based Vodacom Group last year bought a stake in Safaricom, based in Nairobi, from its parent to gain access to its M-Pesa money-transfer service, helping to double earnings from financial services. Vodacom last year made 11 billion transactions worth 2 trillion rand ($134 billion) to 36 million customers.

The potential stretches to Nigeria, Ethiopia and Egypt, where reforms could add 110 million mobile-money accounts in the next five years, the GSM Association said in February.

Read more: African Behemoth of 200 Million Awakens to Retail Banking

There’s more to come, said Martison Obeng-Agyei, who heads Vodafone Cash in Accra. There were about 31 million mobile-voice subscriptions in the country of 29 million people, and 12.1 million active mobile-money accounts at the end of 2017, from just 345,400 five years ago, Bank of Ghana data show.

Dialing Up

Ghana's mobile-phone operators still see more growth in financial services

Source: Bank of Ghana

“There’s huge prospects,” he said. “One of the things that was lacking in our financial system was the ability to move funds around. Businesses have been established because of mobile money.” While Agane hasn’t been robbed in his four years as an agent, he stays alert. A company comes around to exchange hard cash for electronic money to lower the chances of being targeted, like a vendor Agane heard of across town, who was attacked with a cutlass.

“There are so many risks,” he said, especially with the kiosk open until 9 p.m. “But there’s no jobs. If you don’t do it, there will be no food on your table.” - Source: Bloomberg



Do you know that the richest man to ever live was an African?




Foreign Direct Investment and Economic Growth in Africa

  • Written by Super User
  • Category: News

Written By: Alexander Ayertey & Emmanuel Amoah-Darkwa

The economy of Africa has witnessed an increment in foreign direct investment (FDI) to the continent despite the global economy experiencing a decline in foreign direct investment – according to the World Investment Report 2019, FDI flows in Africa rose to $46 billion in 2018 representing an increase of 11% over 2017.

This perceptible growth in FDI has been attributed to the growing demand for some commodities and a corresponding rise in the prices of these commodities together with a growth in non-resource-seeking investment in a few countries on the continent. FDI flows in Africa in 2017 decreased by 21% as compared to 2016, reaching $42 billion – the decline was concentrated in the larger commodity exporters.

Even though some large economies on the African continent like Egypt and Nigeria experienced contractions in Foreign Direct Investment, this decline was outbalanced by the surge in FDI flows in other large economies like South Africa that recorded FDI of $5.3 billion – South Africa’s more than double FDI in 2018 is largely attributed to the intracompany transfers by established investors even though new investments in the shape of the $186 million wind farm being built by the Irish company, Mainstream Renewable Energy and the $750 million Beijing Automotive Group plant were noteworthy FDI inflows.

Foreign Direct Investment in Africa has undeniable prospects as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA), a free trade area that is inscribed in its blueprint, the African Continental Free Trade Agreement – with the highest number of participating states (52 out of 55 AU member states), the free trade area will lighten the trade barriers associated with intra-African trade – African Continental Free Trade Area is considered the largest in the World after the formation of the World Trade Organization.

As the implementation of the AFCTA, which went into force in May 2019 commences its operation after a summit on July 7, 2019, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa estimates that the AFCTA will enhance intra-African trade by 52% within 4 years.

In 2018, the global flows of foreign direct investment recorded was $1.3 trillion, a decline of 13%, making it the lowest to be recorded after the global financial crisis – highlighting a decline in international investment in the last decade. Glaring strides have been achieved during this period – notable among the accomplishments have been developing Asia regaining its position in 2017 as the largest receiver of foreign direct investment in the world with   $476 billion. Foreign direct investment to developing economies was stunted at $671 billion in 2017 after a 10% decline in 2016 but FDI to structurally weak and vulnerable economies have been fragile as flows to least developed economies was $26 billion representing a decrease of 17% in 2017.

Flows to landlocked developing economies were also $23 billion an increase of 3% whiles flows in small Island developing states experienced a growth of 4% representing $4.1 billion in 2017. Other regions like Latin America and the Caribbean experienced an increment in FDI for the first time in 6 years accounting for $151 billion representing an increase of 8% but the inflows are still less than what was recorded at the time when the commodity market was booming in 2011 which was the peak for the region.

See Also: Real Estate Finance: Lessons that Ghana can draw from the rest of the world

According to the African Development Bank, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the economy of Africa is forecasted to accelerate to 4% in 2019 after GDP growth in the continent was estimated at 3.5% in 2018 – making the economy of Africa the second-fastest growing economy after Asia with the combined GDP of Nigeria and South Africa making up almost half of the economy of Africa. In 2018, Nigeria’s foreign direct investment flows were for $1.9 billion – Although Nigeria’s gross domestic product grew by 1.9% in 2018, foreign direct investment declined as compared to the $3.5 billion in 2017 according to UNCTAD. The decline is mainly attributed to a profit repatriated rift between the government of Nigeria and the Telecom giant, MTN – the situation created fertile grounds for HSBC Bank and UBS, an investment bank to close their offices in 2018. This development did not auger well for Nigeria whose main foreign direct investment over the years have come from the United Kingdom, United States, China, France and the Netherlands. Although Nigeria has reported notable greenfield projects in the oil and gas sector that has the capacity to overturn the decline in FDI in 2019, the situation has made the country unattractive for foreign investors as they switched their attention to Ghana, which was experiencing an oil and gas boom at the time.

According to the World Bank, the economy of Ghana accelerated by 8% in 2017 with the growth being attributed to the high output of Gold from the mining sector and gains from the oil sector – this made Ghana the second-fastest economy in Africa after Ethiopia with its largest Greenfield project being spearheaded by the Eni Group. In 2018, Ghana became the most attractive destination for foreign direct investment in West-Africa raking in about $3.5billion as published by Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC). Total foreign direct investment in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2018 was $32 billion representing an increase of 13% for the region.

In northern Africa, Egypt’s gross domestic product grew by 5.3% – with investment in renewable energy, food processing, real estate development, oil and gas, Egypt was the economy of Africa’s highest earner of foreign direct investment, accruing $7.9 billion in 2018 representing an increment of 7% in the previous year.


In eastern Africa, Ethiopia was the highest earner of FDI in 2018 with $3.3 billion even though the country suffered a decline of 18% as compared to 2017. Uganda recorded a tremendous increase of 67% in FDI, summing-up to $1.3 billion, the highest ever recorded in the country – the oil and gas sector accounted for the recent surge as Tullow Oil, Total among others are the major participants engaged in the sector. Other eastern African countries like Tanzania and Kenya have all witnessed an increase in foreign direct investment in 2018.

For African countries to increase the size of foreign direct investment in their economies it is imperative to integrate all the African countries as a single market devoid of trade tariffs and the hustle associated with moving from one African country to the other.

In Aliko Dangote’s interview with Mo Ibrahim in April this year, the richest man in Africa pointed out the delays his outfit endures in transporting goods to other African countries. He even recounted times he had to apply for VISA to enter an African country even when he had an African Union passport. The effective implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCTA) could integrate a market with a population of about 1.2 billion on the African continent with a combined gross domestic product of more than $2.2 trillion.

The realization of the goals of the African Continental Free Trade Area has the capacity to boost the economic growth of Africa countries. Many examples of such trade arrangements have been implemented successfully in other regions in the last few decades – in the early stage of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) a free trading area that was that had its framework arraignment signed by 11 heads of state in 2002 saw trade between ASEAN members growing from $59.6 billion to $192.5 billion between 2003 to 2008.

The growth in trade within the region was mainly influenced by the removal of 90% trade tariffs among member states. With the economy of China becoming the second largest economy in the world after the United States, the region has recorded an increase in foreign investments particularly among the network of Chinese business entities (Bamboo Network) operating in the markets of Southeast Asia. The Euro area, the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) are all viable trade arrangements that have been implemented with member countries reaping the benefits of trade in these regions – the African continent, the second most populous continent in the world according to the World Population Review 2019, can draw lessons from the existing trade arrangements in other regions by effectively integrating all the African countries using the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCTA). - Business and Financial Times (B&TF)


The evolution of Chinese automobiles in Ghana

  • Written by Super User
  • Category: News

Written by: Rahaman Osman

Photo Credit: MotorKingLtd

The relationship between Ghana and China dates back to 1960 when the first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, had to lobby for the People’s Republic of China’s reinstatement in the United Nations (UN). Both countries have had growing diplomatic and economic relations ever since. For much of the last century, Ghana relied heavily on commodities for foreign exchange, but it was until from the year 2000 that China’s interest in Ghana in terms of investments and trade grew stronger.

Most past and present governments of Ghana have one way or the other had some economic or diplomatic support from China. Inferences of events from the Rawlings administration to the Nana Addo administration show that both Ghana and China’s relationship will forever remain strong and there is the need for more collaboration of economic ties for mutual benefits.

The growth of China’s trade interest in Ghana for the past decades has improved so significantly in goods and services which include textiles, commodities and automobiles. Huawei, one of the giant mobile service providers of China is doing very well in Ghana and many more Chinese vehicle and motorcycles are all over Ghana helping in diverse ways for the growth of the economy. 

The automobile market

Ghana Automobile Industry is well-known with Europeans and Japanese brands such as Nissan, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Mercedes-Benz, Isuzu, Ford and Volvo. With some South Korean brands such as Kia, Hyndai, Ssangyong. These brands have dominated the Ghanaian market over decades as a result of brand power and high images in the eyes of the Ghanaian Automobile consumers.

In time past, the Chinese brands were perceived as substandard and low-quality vehicles due to some technical challenges automobile consumers experienced whiles using them. However, globalization and technological innovations have now made these Chinese manufacturers to improve on their product designs, quality and specifications to compete so closely with some of these European, Japanese and South Korean Brands in the Automobile Industry.


Foton, one of the leading Chinese brands in the world, for example, has adopted a strategic alliance with renewed automobile giants in the world such as Cummins from America, Diamiler from Mercedes – Benz, Germany and Isuzu from Japan where they pick Engines, Transmissions, Gearboxes and Axels from these renowned automobile companies to manufacture their vehicles. It is of no doubt, Foton is now one of the leading brands in sales volume of Heavy Duty Trucks in the world and tipped as the number two brand in the Light Duty Commercial Trucks segment in Ghana(source: GADA).

Historically, The Kalmoni Group has been very instrumental and consistent in promoting and marketing Chinese Automobiles in the Ghanaian market over decades now. The first Chinese vehicle introduced into the Ghanaian market was the Great Wall, which dates back to the late 90s and early 2000s by the Kalmoni Group under its sister company called Enyidado Industries later changed to Modern Auto Services Limited.

After testing this Brand for a period of time, the Ghanaian automobile consumers did not accept the brand due to some technical and design challenges. This they had to let go of and explored other Chinese Brands such as Geely, Cherry QQ, Changan, Lifan. These Brands were introduced and tested the Ghanaian market but eventually could not also stand the test of time in the eyes of Ghanaian automobile consumers. Foton one of the flagship brand of Chinese vehicles, including others now doing very well in complementing to the Ghanaian Economy.

Many SME’s in Ghana today such as:  Mobile Water producers, Beverages distributors, wholesalers and multinational companies now rely greatly on these Chines Light Duty Trucks for their distributions and retails operations. This is mainly due to their Quality, Reliability, Affordability, and good after-sales support by their local distributors.

The Construction and Real Estate developers can now boast of a more reliable Foton Auman Heavy Duty Tipper Truck with bucket sizes of 18, 20, 32 & 45 cubics and equally the Oil & Gas Sector can also boast of high quality

Foton Auman Tractor Heads as the only Chinese Truck in Ghana today with the ADR specification which is a mandatory requirements by the European standard for transporting Oil & Gas. New Chinese vehicles importation to Ghana has significantly grown as per data below.

Also SeeDo you know that the richest man to ever live was an African?

Over the last three years, about 40,181 units of new vehicles have been imported into Ghana with the Chinese vehicles contributing about 9.9% of these total imports. Even though, in the year 2017 there was a 7% declined in the total imports of new vehicles into Ghana as against the previous year, but the Chinese vehicles witnessed about 8% growth over the preceding year which is quite significant and shows a promising future for the growth of Chinese automobiles in Ghana.

There should be a deliberate effort between governments and authorized Automobile distributors in Ghana to partner with the Chinese companies for a possible establishment of some vehicle assembling plants in Ghana. Even though, the current government has entered into some negotiations with SINOTRUCKfor possible of establishing an assembling plant for which over 1,500 trucks are to be assembled annually for the West Africa market, more of such needs to be work on.

The fact of the matter is that, these Chinese vehicles have come to stay in Ghana Automobile Industry and us as a nation must start to develop and strengthen our technical institutions so that we can train more youth to feed into this sector. Else we will eventually be purchasing and use these Chinese vehicles and have to resort to these foreigners to provide service for them.

Chinese Brands such as Foton, Howo Sinotruck, Shackman, Jac, Jmc, Yujein, Dongfing etc. are now all over Ghana Automobile Industry and credit must be alluded to the pioneers for paving the way.

Source: Business & Financial Times (B&FT)



Africa Free Trade Agreement: Is Ghana positioned well to benefit?

This 29-year-old startup founder shares her advice for entrepreneurs

The Top 5 Advantages of Owning a Farmland #Agribusiness

  • Written by Super User
  • Category: News

For centuries, the land has been considered as the reservoir for wealth. Investment in property is a clever investment as the value of land always appreciates with time. Growing interest for investment in farmlands is the latest trend of the real estate market. In this article, we have mentioned five practical reasons or advantages of owning farmlands.


#1 High capital security with less amount of risk

As an investor, you need to keep in mind the performance level of an investment, for both good and bad times. If the land can give you great results in good times, it can also show losses during market instability. As an investor, putting your money in farmland is the smartest choice. Unlike other type or real estate properties where rates fluctuate with the building of new housing units, farms offer limited supply. Therefore, it is unlikely to devalue. Owning a farm provides substantial capital preservation for extended time periods. Additionally, if you can maintain your farmland well, it will give you an entirely inexhaustible resource to gain productive results.


#2 Productive inflation boundaries

Farmlands always earn profit higher than the current inflation standard, which makes it a reservoir for invested capital and productive during inflation. In simple terms, farmlands increase money flow constantly. Therefore, investors need not worry about inflation in government policies.


#3 Reduce the income shortfalls

As an investor, if you include farmland in your mixed-asset portfolio, it can help you decrease the impact of losses that might occur through other investment portfolios. Strategically placed farmlands can never bring losses. The land is and will be black gold, always!


#4 Higher return

Farmland investments bring higher returns as it involves both fixed and movable capital returns. This is possible through the combination of fixed land value appreciation and income through rentals. Farmlands also prove to be a highly valuable asset when compared to other primary assets like bonds, stocks, and commercial property. With considerably lower risk, an investment in farmlands is considered as marginally volatile.  


#5 Transparent and simple real estate investment

In scenarios like frauds, unclear investment proceedings, bankruptcy, and bribe, investing in farmlands can provide you with transparency in investment and save you from extortionate charges.


3 Reasons To Preserve A Farmland As Your Valuable Asset

#1 Farmlands are the best among asset class with proven competitive records.

#2 If you plan on leasing your farmland, you could earn more profit. Many farm owners who could not generate consistent profit through their farmland gained a lot by leasing out their farms.

#3 Farmlands can also offer guaranteed long term returns if there is any upcoming government infrastructure near your area. 

Source: Vermont



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