Ghana is said to have expressed interest in hosting the headquarters of the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) as the organization plans relocating its office outside London due to high cost of rent.
But Ghana, the world’s second largest cocoa producer, faces strong competition from the world’s number one cocoa grower Ivory Coast.
A report by the UK Financial Times (FT) March 22, 2012 said negotiations about moving the ICCO headquarters out of London to Abidjan have been on the cards for about a decade but the issue has been held up due to years of civil war and security issues in the Ivory Coast, while countries including Ghana and Ecuador have also expressed interest in hosting the organisation.
Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara, who won the country’s elections in 2010 but only took full control of Ivory Coast in 2011 after a power struggle with his predecessor Laurent Gbagbo, is offering to house the ICCO in Abidjan rent free for ten years during which the organisation would build its offices in the capital, the FT reports.
Calls put through by ghanabusinessnews.com to the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) to ascertain the position of the country on the matter proved futile as officials declined to comment.
The relocation is said be on the agenda at the organisation’s semi-annual meeting in Ecuador next week. Experts believe Ivory Coast is likely to win the bid.
The ICCO is an intergovernmental group representing leading producers and consumers of cocoa. Since its inception in 1973, the ICCO has been headquartered in London, home to the benchmark NYSE Liffe cocoa futures contract.
By Ekow Quandzie