Wandile Sihlobo: Who is the Cupid of Africa?

OK folks, it is Valentine’s Day!

This means that chocolate will be on the cards across the world as a romantic gesture. Therefore, annual chocolate sales could partially inform us a bit about the ‘romantic’ status of each country.

Before I delve into my hypothesis, let’s get a bit of background on who are the producers of chocolate (hint: it is not your significant other). But, first let’s talk about cocoa production – the central ingredient of chocolate.

Africa is the leading producer of cocoa, particularly the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Cameroon and Nigeria. Trailing Africa is South America and Southeast Asia (see the chart below).

cupid of africa

Now that we know the cocoa producers, one might assume that these countries would also be the leading producers of chocolate – wrong.

The United States, Italy, Japan, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Argentina are the leading producers of chocolate (see the table below). While Africa is a leading producer of cocoa, there isn’t a single cocoa producer featured among the top chocolate producers.

cupid of africa

Luckily, romance is in the air and all hope is not lost for Africa.

I will use the trade data as a form of assessing the key buyers of chocolate in Africa, and these will then qualify as the romantic countries in the continent.

In the data analysis, I use Trade Map statistics, imports by value for 2017 (see the chart below.)

cupid of africa

Surprise, surprise!

South Africa, followed by Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Egypt and Angola, were the top importers of chocolate on the African continent.

Given this data, I therefore concluded that South Africans demonstrated a sweet taste, making South Africa the most romantic country on the continent.

Don’t take this post too seriously, by the way – have a bit of chocolate instead, and savour the (romantic) moment. You too can be romantic, even if you are closer to the tail-end of the ranking (see the last chart).

Wandile Sihlobo, an agricultural economist, is head of research at the Agricultural Business Chamber of South Africa (Agbiz). Follow him on Twitter: @WandileSihlobo

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