The founding president of Imani Ghana, Franklin Cudjoe, has stated that the merging of Ghana and Ivory Coast could form the power house of West Africa.
He said if a framework was developed that enabled people and goods to cross freely between Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, a lot of “revolutionary things” would be possible.
He said, for instance, it would lead to the establishment of a domesticated global centre for cocoa, which would come with the ability to determine prices and control production, creating what he called an OPEC of cocoa, ‘COCOPEC’.
Cudjoe said this could leverage the ability of the two countries to attract investment in processing plants, with significant opportunities for job creation.
He revealed this in the Imani Africa report, titled: Ghana - Cote d'Ivoire: A new country, Ghanivoire could weld together West Africa
The policy analyst said with both Ghana and Ivory Coast dominating an estimated $9 billion cocoa industry, a new joint country could make giant strides in the high-end chocolate industry, which is estimated to be worth $87bn a year.
READ ALSO: UK expresses confidence in Ghana's economy
This, he said, would cause major players such as Mars, Nestlé and Cadbury to relocate some of their production facilities from North America and Europe.
Cudjoe added that the two countries could also become a regional power-house for energy production, distribution and marketing, and with their large deposits of oil and gas, there was an opportunity for expanding manufacturing and port facilities to handle cargo for landlocked neighbouring countries.
He said the net effect of reliable power supply – not only for increasing domestic demand but also for export to other West African countries – is that the duo could be the energy hub for West Africa.
According to him, it would have an effect on investment and subsequently industrialization, which would place the two fused countries at the epicentre of economic activity within West Africa, just like South Africa is the bedrock of Southern Africa.
“We could also create a financial services hub to rival South Africa’s. Côte d’Ivoire is back to becoming the most favoured destination for multinational and supranational financial institutions, with a regional bourse and regional central bank. Meanwhile, Ghana is perfecting the art of providing unique financial services to English-speaking West Africans,” he said.
Cudjoe added that cultural exchanges between Ghana and Ivory Coast through language, music and food would not only provide economic returns through tourism but also serve as the basis for a special relationship that guides the resolution of disputes.