Cocoa makes much more than chocolate

The Ivory Coast has long outlawed the ivory trade and its elephant population is small, so the name is rather misleading if you consider its two main exports. The Ivory Coast is one of the world’s largest exporters of cocoa.

Not surprisingly a large portion of the population consists of cocoa farmers who are in the midst of harvesting their crop for chocolate. But it is much more than chocolate they are making in the current elections.

The cocoa farmers are largely from the Baoule ethnic group or tribe. In the first round of voting the Baoules voted massively for their fellow tribesmen and former President, Henri Konan Bedie. But Bedie lost and asked his tribesmen to throw in their lot with Alassane Ouattara, an economist and former Prime Minister, but not a Baoule.

The Bete tribe has their own Presidential candidate, Laurent Gbagbo, the current President of Ivory Coast. The Bete tribesmen are smaller in number and their votes alone cannot make President Gbagbo win again.  It’s up to the Baoule to decide the winner – Ouattara or Gbagbo – in an election to watch on Sunday when cocoa farmers will become king-makers.

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