In a historic move, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo shut down Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga during a state visit to Bern, saying that Ghana would no longer export cocoa to Switzerland.
President Akufo-Addo emphasized his determination to move Ghana to become a player in the global marketplace, adding that it is something that cannot be done while relying on foreign manufacturers of the country’s raw materials.
“There can be no future prosperity for the Ghanaian people in the short, medium, or long term if we continue to maintain economic structures that are dependent on the production and export of raw materials,” he said.
Moments prior, Swiss President Sommaruga made a speech highlighting the country’s dependence on Ghanaian cocoa to produce their chocolate.
“It is quite simple,” said Sommaruga. “We need the raw materials, and you have the raw materials.”
“The resulting trade and business should benefit both countries. This principle is part of mutual respect. Gold and cocoa can create work and wealth in both countries,” she added.
Ghana is the second-largest supplier of cocoa in the world, making up nearly 30% of the global supply. Cocoa is considered to be the country’s largest cash crop.
In recent years, Ghana has seen a push towards producing more chocolate domestically, rather than exporting cocoa beans to foreign chocolatiers. This has been done in an effort to make the country’s economy more autonomous, in the hopes that Ghana will no longer need to rely on foreign aid to support its economy.
“We are determined in Ghana to ensure that succeeding generations of Ghanaians do not become victims or pawns of the international economic order, but her beneficiaries,” said Akufo-Addo.
“Indeed, the project is a Ghana beyond aid. A Ghana which has discarded a mindset of dependency, aid, charity and hand-downs,” he added.