West Africa

Opportunities for the future through more value creation and employment

Minister Müller travels to Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire

A worker in a cotton ginning plant in Burkina Faso

Press release of 27.02.2017 |

BERLIN – The positive economic trend in West Africa needs to be harnessed even more than before to provide employment opportunities for people in the region – that is the main focus of the five-day visit to Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire that Federal Minister Gerd Müller is beginning today. In recent years, political and economic reforms in both countries have paved the way for high economic growth rates. However, when it comes to labour standards and wages in cotton, cocoa and coffee production – major export commodities for both countries – there are weak points where improvements still need to be made.

"Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire are proof that reforms lead to economic growth." Minister Müller said. "But growth must benefit all people across the entire country and translate into employment opportunities, fair wages on plantations and innovations in agriculture. This will only be achieved if our trade chains guarantee ethical production conditions in Africa for products that are sold in Germany. The German Development Ministry is engaged in cocoa, coffee and textile partnerships to deliver on this goal. My aim is to ensure that not 39 per cent of the cocoa sold in Germany is ethically sourced but 100 per cent."

Investments in rural development and in innovative farming techniques made under German development policy have helped to significantly improve the incomes of people in rural areas of Burkina Faso. Improved seeds have helped 15,000 farmers to increase their yields by 20 per cent. In approximately 3,000 agriculture-related companies, both upstream and downstream, more than 4,000 new jobs have been created. If processing and refining take place within a country, this can bring new employment opportunities to structurally weak regions.

During his visit, the Minister will meet with President Kaboré and other members of the government. The Minister will visit a cotton ginning plant of the Faso Coton company and inaugurate the green innovation centre for rice growing at CAP Matourkou agricultural training centre. Minister Müller will also visit a green innovation centre for rice growing, which is being run in Dano in cooperation with the Dreyer Foundation.

In Côte d’Ivoire, Minister Müller will have meetings to learn more about the state of the cocoa sector. With a market share of roughly 40 per cent, the country is the world's largest cocoa producer. This makes cocoa one of the most important economic sectors for the country. Minister Müller will visit the PRO-PLANTEURS project, which is a joint project on sustainable cocoa production of the German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa, the German government and the Ivorian government. PRO-PLANTEURS has provided training for 70 managers of cooperatives and for 19 farmer organisations. More than 3,600 farmers have taken part in special training courses.

Meetings with President Ouattara and the African Development Bank in Abidjan will focus on the Marshall Plan with Africa.

As part of its development cooperation Germany is fostering sustainable economic development in both countries by setting up value chains for cotton, rice, cocoa and cashew nuts. Ensuring that these commodities undergo industrial processing in the country of origin generates higher export revenue and reduces the dependence of the countries on fluctuating world market prices for these commodities.

From Côte d'Ivoire the Minister will travel on to Tunisia.

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