Wandile Sihlobo: Judging by chocolate sales, SA is Africa's most romantic country

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It is February 14, which is Valentine’s Day. If you're lucky, you might be in line for a chocolate or two.

If chocolate is a romantic gesture, and chocolate sales are any indication of the 'romantic' status of a country, South Africans aren't doing too badly.

Africa, the leading cocoa producer

But first, let’s get a bit of background on who are the producers of chocolate. Let's talk about the production of cocoa, the central ingredient of chocolate.

Africa is the leading producer of cocoa, particularly in the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Cameroon and Nigeria.

Trailing Africa is South America and Southeast Asia, as illustrated in Exhibit 1 below.

wandile chocolate 1

Now that we know the cocoa producers, one might assume that these countries will 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.

wandile chocolate 1

But all hope is not lost for Africa's chocoholics. Using the trade data as a form of assessing the key buyers of chocolate in Africa, I have ranked the "most romantic" countries in the continent.

In the data analysis, I use Trade Map statistics, imports by value, as shown in Exhibit 2 below.

wandile chocolate 1

Good job, South Africa

Surprise, surprise! South Africans clearly have a sweet tooth, and if chocolate is anything to go by, South Africa, followed by Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Egypt and Angola are the top five most romantic countries in the African continent.

A small disclaimer: don’t take this post too much to heart – it's not meant to be a serious analysis. Have a bit of chocolate instead, and savour the moment. You too can be romantic… even if you are closer to the tail-end of the ranking!

Wandile Sihlobo is a South African agricultural economist. He is the author of Finding Common Ground: Land, Equity and Agriculture.

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