I was telling someone recently about how I preferred how soft and tasty (sugary) foreign chocolates were compared to Kingsbite or Golden tree chocolate.
Then my friend went like oh! But do you know how some foreigners scramble for the Golden tree chocolate? She told me of how a foreign delegation which visited their office recently for a meeting, couldn’t resist the Golden tree chocolates. In fact to their surprise, these diplomats and high earning officials didn’t leave a single one behind.
The idea then occurred to me, why can’t the ministry of aviation and the ministry of tourism team up to provide free chocolate for all those arriving at the Kotoka International Airport including those who are just on transit. These chocolates can be branded with Akwaaba with pictures of various tourist sites in the country as well as other important things to know about Ghana.
I know some may say this is an additional cost, but the advantages will far outweigh any form of financial losses. Besides we do not necessarily have to offer the biggest size available, we can simply give out the smallest size available which cost around GHS 1.50 pesewas. Plus there is a way we can offset the cost involved so that it doesn’t become a burden on the people and the government Ghana. I will explain how best I think we can offset any form of financial losses soon, but let me first explain some advantages I see with this policy.
The first advantage that comes to mind is that this would boost local tourism because these chocolates will provide a platform for advertising the various tourist sites in the country. Also, it could help improve the Ghana brand and make Ghana the choice of most travelers to Africa who need to fly via transit. Again, it would make Ghana the choice of most tourists who come to West Africa just because of the musings of receiving free chocolates at the airport.
Beyond the advantage we will derive through tourism, there is also a commercial advantage to this too. This will mean we would be providing the producers of the chocolate (Cocoa Processing Company – a local company) with a huge market, which will mean more jobs for the Ghanaian economy, more tax revenue as well as more revenue in-flows for the company to be able to diversify their products and expand their operations.
It will also be a form of advertisement for the local chocolate industry, because those transiting may not eat it immediately, but take it along to wherever their going and if it’s true that a lot of foreigners like the product we could be on the verge of creating a vast foreign market for our locally manufactured chocolates. Let us be minded that most of the cocoa products that leave the country are in their raw state or in the form of cocoa/ chocolate paste. Thus this will be a major departure from the raw material export -minded Ghanaian cocoa industry to a finished product export-minded cocoa industry.
I promised to discuss how we can offset the financial burden to the parties that may be involved (i.e. Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Aviation, Ministry of Trade and Industry, The Ghana Airport Company, Cocoa Marketing Company etc.) Whilst we may brand the chocolates with Akwaaba and pictures of local tourist sites, the inner layer of the main wrapper (not the aluminum foil) of the chocolate which is currently white is a major advertising “board” for many companies. Telecom companies, all local and international Banks, Taxify and Uber, Hotels, Internet Service providers, Restaurants can advertise their pruducts and services through this medium if we pitch our strategy to them well.
Again those willing to pay a premium may be allowed to place an advert on the outer layer of the wrappers of the chocolate bars in place of the tourist sites. Thus an arrangement can be made such that 30percent of the chocolate produced for this purpose will be branded with Akwaaba and the tourist sites and the remaining 70 percent will be offered to those willing to advertise their products on the chocolate bars. So that in the instances where a company prefers the outer part then the advertisement for the tourist sites will move to the inner part of the wrapper but the constant theme will be that the tourist sites and major GoG adverts will always find a place on the chocolates.
Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire are the world largest producers of cocoa, but for a long time due to lack of innovation and proper marketing mechanisms, the Swiss are considered to have the best chocolate products in the world. It’s a shame for the two countries and I believe my humble opinion if considered will go a long way to help boost our cocoa industry. It’s a good thing we have started works on a Cocoa Museum in the Eastern Region, but beyond that, other steps should be taken to boost the cocoa industry
I do hope my thoughts will be well considered by all stake holders involved and some form of action can be taken to help boost our cocoa industry and to create jobs. Tweaks can be made to this idea for optimum execution and benefits for all parties.
Happy Chocolate Day!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
God Bless Ghana
The Author Albert Opare is a political science graduate from the University of Ghana and a social commentator as well as a social & political activist.