In September, Cameroonian Hope Sona Ebai will be among the three candidates to the position of Executive Director of the International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO). He revealed himself his candidacy during a meeting granted to him by the Minister of External Relations, Lejeune Mbella Mbella, from whom he requested the support of the Cameroonian public authorities and to discuss his future election campaign strategy.
Former Managing Director of the National Cocoa and Coffee Council (ONCC), Hope Sona Ebai has close to 30 years of experience in the cocoa economy in Cameroon, in Africa and in the world. After ONCC which he managed for 7 years, this grandson of a cocoa producer occupied, during 11 years, the function of General Secretary of the Alliance of Cocoa Producing Countries, which represents 75% of the world cocoa beans production.
From this position in Copal, Hope Sona Ebai, a native of the South-West region of Cameroon, was the major force behind the organisation of the Summits of Heads of State of African cocoa producing countries in Abuja in 2006, and Accra in 2007. He is also credited with the organisation of four international conferences on cocoa research.
Since his departure from Copal, he found a new home at the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF), an international organisation formed by the 100 biggest companies in the cocoa industry worldwide, and of which a main financer is American billionaire Bill Gates through his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Within this organisation representing 80% of the world cocoa industry, Hope Sona Ebai, a graduate in Economy from the Ohio State University, USA, steers the African Cocoa Initiative (ACI). Implemented in Cameroon, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria, this programme with a budget of approximately FCfa 7.5 billion over 5 years, seeks to establish as institutions efficient models to support the sustainable growth of the productivity and the improvement of food security in cocoa farms.
Among the accomplishments of the African Cocoa Initiative in Cameroon, we can cite support to the financing of the New Generation programme devised by the Cocoa and Coffee Inter-professional Council (CICC), which is meant to bring down the average age for producers and cocoa farms alike in the country; and funding for the implementation of a 15 hectares plant nursery, with the support of the Agricultural Research Institute for Development (IRAD).