Off this week
I’m taking this week off from posting to the blog as I’m inundated with a sudden pop of work.
These days Abidjan is buzzing with interesting commodity conferences.
Last week, I attended the World Cocoa Foundation’s annual partnership meeting, which was held in the new Radisson Blu hotel.
The Hotel Ivoire, Abidjan’s architectural jewel, is normally the venue for prestigious cocoa industry events. But, the conference organizers, allegedly concerned about security, chose the bland Radisson, which is like a fortress with its many security checks. (The owner, a Malian trader turned hotel entrepreneur, also owns the Radisson Blu in Bamako which was savagely attacked in November 2015.)
Their concerns weren’t completely off the mark as Abidjan was preparing for a controversial referendum on a new Constitution drafted by Alassane Ouattara’s government. In the end, there wasn’t much violence although voter turnout was low.
Over the two days, leading industry players discussed the usual topics: improving cocoa farmers’ incomes, halting deforestation, and taking stock on the thorny issue of child labor.
Now that the WCF conference is over, I’m putting the final touches on a presentation that I’ll be giving at an Africa trade forum next week. Sponsored by Commerzbank, the forum is bringing together African bankers to discuss trade and commodity finance. I’m giving the 2016/17 outlook on cocoa, coffee and sugar markets.
I’ll return to the blog next week with a new post.