African Cocoa A Golden Ticket For Tanzania Chocolate Factory

African Cocoa A Golden Ticket For Tanzania Chocolate Factory

By Edith Honan | From Reuters

Jaki Kweka is that rare breed of gourmet chocolatier. She makes fine chocolate in Africa using local African ingredients.

Other African companies such as Ghana’s Golden Tree use local cocoa but import milk powder and sugar. Multinationals such as Nestle mass produce chocolate in South Africa for the continent’s consumers and source ingredients globally.

But few firms match Kweka’s ideal — she uses Tanzanian beans and local sugar to make organic chocolate that is 100 percent African. She packages her bars in recycled maize husks for extra authenticity.

Kweka’s Chocolate Mamas is one of a handful of East African firms carving out a niche in the chocolate world and seeking to reverse a trend that has led to the foreign domination of Africa’s growing chocolate economy.

The firm employs five people and its small size sheds light on a big issue: Africa produces more than 70 percent of the world’s cocoa but the $110 billion chocolate industry is dominated by Western companies.

Top cocoa producers Ivory Coast and Ghana lack dairy and sugar industries to compete with the main manufacturers and cocoa is traded globally so African bean growers don’t have a competitive advantage when it comes to making chocolate.

“You don’t really find large-scale chocolate manufacturing (by African companies) in sub-Saharan Africa because it’s not commercially viable. It’s expensive to produce,” said Victoria Crandall, an Ecobank analyst in Ivory Coast.

Read more at Reuters