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Ivory Coast: Cocoa farmers get electronic cards for tracking, fair pricing



As part of plans to create financial inclusion in the country, Ivory Coast’s cocoa regulator on Thursday started distributing electronic cards to cocoa farmers to help track beans from plantations.

The cards will also help track export ports and ensure the growers are paid a guaranteed price for their produce.

The two biggest cocoa producers, Ghana, and Ivory Coast called for higher prices for their farm products in November. The two West African countries, under the Living Income Differential (LID), vowed to charge a premium of $400 per tonne on all cocoa sales, starting with the 2020/21 harvest.

The card exercise is also part of the response to plans by the European Union to ban imports of commodities and products linked to deforestation and rights abuses by 2024.

The new card system, which will start operating at the start of the next cocoa season on Oct.1, will enable the CCC to reject beans grown illegally and trace them from plantations to the ports of Abidjan and San Pedro.

“The European Union voted a new law that will be implemented soon, and this pushes us to develop a traceability and certification system,” CCC head Yves Brahima Kone told hundreds of cocoa farmers collecting their cards in the northern city of Agboville.

One of the farmers, Jean Dominique Boua, who farms outside Agboville, said “It is the first time I have a bank card that I can use to withdraw cash. I have never had a bank account and I am happy because now I can sell my cocoa for the guaranteed price.”

West Africa collectively supplies two-thirds of the world’s cocoa crop, with nearby countries like Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Togo producing additional 1.55 million tonnes annually.


Italian Foreign minister, Antonio Tajani, wants IMF, US to unblock aid fund to Tunisia. Here’s why



European country, Italy is worried that International Monetary Fund’s block on a $1.9 billion loan to Tunisia might lead to a new wave of migrants towards Europe.

Italian Foreign Minister, Antonio Tajani remarked on Sunday as the IMF, the United States, and other international donors stopped bailout talks demanding far-reaching reforms from President Kais Saied to free up the cash.

Tajani told journalists that he has spoken to IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and urged her to show flexibility to stave off possible financial collapse.

“I reiterated the need for the Fund to intervene quickly in favour of Tunisian stabilisation and growth with economic and financial support.

“The stability and prosperity of Tunisia, with respect for fundamental rights and freedoms, are crucial for the stability of the entire Mediterranean region,” Tajani said.

He had discussed the problem with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken prior to an upcoming meeting of EU foreign ministers.

“Uncontrolled irregular migration can only be reduced by improving the conditions of security and economic stability,” Tajani said, adding that Italy was looking to boost training opportunities for Tunisians as an alternative to migration.

In recent years, refugees and migrants attempting to reach Europe via the Mediterranean Sea lost their lives at an alarming rate. According to the EU statistics agency Eurostat, an analysis done in September 2022 which revealed that in September alone, France received around 15,000 asylum applications, Germany almost 21,000, Austria around 15,700, and Spain more than 11,000, compared to only 8,500 for Italy.

As of 2023, Italy has taken in 20,046 boat migrants, a record number, beating the all-time high set in 2016, when 181,436 migrants reached land in a flotilla of flimsy boats.

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Nigeria launches $618 million tech fund for young entrepreneurs



West African country, Nigeria has launched a $618 million fund to support tech and creative sectors for young investors in the country.

The fund, which is targeted at entrepreneurs between the ages 15 -35, comes at a time when there are concerns locally about the failure of U.S. startup-focused lender SVB Financial Group, which has supported startups in Nigeria.

Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo according to a statement by the presidency launched the $618 million fund under the Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises (iDICE) in the federal capital Abuja.

The statement also revealed that African Development Bank will put in $170 million, $116 million will come from Agence Francaise de Developpement, and another $70 million from Islamic Development Bank.

The statement also says the government through the Bank of Industry Nigeria will release $45 million while the private sector pledged $217 million.

Osinbajo was quoted as saying at the launch of the fund, that “iDICE is a government initiative to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in the digital tech and creative industries and especially targeted at job creation.”

According to the Nigerian Startup Ecosystem Report 2022, released by startup-focused content and research company Disrupt Africa, Nigeria is the most popular tech startup investment destination in Africa – between 2015 and 2022, 383 tech startups raised a combined US$2,068,709,445.

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