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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05ACCRA1148
2005-06-10 17:19:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Accra
Cable title:  

U.S. CHOCOLATE MANUFACTURERS IN GHANA TO WORK ON

Tags:   EAGR  EAID  ECON  EIND  ELAB  ETRD  GH  PGOV  PREL 
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101719Z Jun 05

ACTION AF-00    

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      LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00   AC-00    NEA-00   NSAE-00  NSCE-00  
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                  ------------------004D7D  101728Z /38    
FM AMEMBASSY ACCRA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8720
INFO ECOWAS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY ABIDJAN PRIORITY 
AMEMBASSY ABUJA PRIORITY 
AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 
AMEMBASSY CONAKRY PRIORITY 
AMEMBASSY JAKARTA PRIORITY 
AMEMBASSY KUALA LUMPUR PRIORITY 
AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 
AMEMBASSY YAOUNDE PRIORITY 
AMCONSUL LAHORE PRIORITY 
DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHDC PRIORITY 0079
DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC PRIORITY
						UNCLAS  ACCRA 001148 

SIPDIS


SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR EAID ECON EIND ELAB ETRD GH PGOV PREL
SUBJECT: U.S. CHOCOLATE MANUFACTURERS IN GHANA TO WORK ON
CHILD LABOR/COCOA ISSUE

REF: ACCRA 00754

UNCLAS ACCRA 001148

SIPDIS


SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR EAID ECON EIND ELAB ETRD GH PGOV PREL
SUBJECT: U.S. CHOCOLATE MANUFACTURERS IN GHANA TO WORK ON
CHILD LABOR/COCOA ISSUE

REF: ACCRA 00754


1. (SBU) Summary: The U.S. chocolate industry is pressuring
the GOG to issue a high level statement no later than
mid-June declaring its commitment to eliminate child labor
from the cocoa sector. Industry reps hope such a step may
persuade members of Congress to drop draft legislation that
would require chocolate to be certified as child labor-free.
Members of the Congress have indicated they are reconsidering
such legislation if industry fails to meet a July 1 deadline
to certify that cocoa used in its products does not rely on
the worst forms of child labor. Post has met with the U.S.
manufacturers and engaged the Foreign Minister, Trade
Minister and staff at the Presidency on the cocoa/child labor
issue. End summary.

--------------
MEETING WITH MINISTRY OF MANPOWER
--------------


2. (SBU) After World Cocoa Foundation and other industry
meetings in Brussels in May, U.S. industry reps traveled to
Ghana to press the GOG to adopt their certification proposal.
In a meeting on May 24, Mars and Hershey's reps outlined for
the Ministry of Manpower, Youth and Employment (MMYE) a
process in which a GOG agency would certify a statistically
representative sample of Ghana's yearly crop each fall and
issue an annual report the following spring. U.S.
manufacturers believe this approach is far more realistic and
affordable than attempting to guarantee that no child labor
is used on any of Ghana's estimated 800,000 cocoa farms. This
approach may adapt the survey tools and monitoring performed
by volunteer district-level committees as piloted in the West
African Commercial Agricultural Project (WACAP), a program
jointly funded by the U.S. Department of Labor and industry
that is designed to identify and remove child laborers from
cocoa farms (see reftel). (Note: In the WACAP model, the

International Labor Organization (ILO) pays for each child
laborer's school fees or vocational training. In some cases,
ILO provides modest assistance to the child's parents as
well. End note.) According to U.S. industry's proposal, an
independent group composed of NGO representatives would then
verify the results of the GOG's certification. Such a group
already exists, and includes child labor experts from several
organizations. The group conducted a pilot of its
verification process and took field visits with MMYE
officials in Ghana the week of May 27. MMYE is continuing
working sessions to determine the report's structure and
whether it will cover all child labor or all child labor in
agriculture rather than just the cocoa sector.


3. (SBU) In the May 24 meeting, U.S. manufacturers advocated
targeted social programs to address those cocoa-producing
communities with the highest incidence of or most severe
child labor. However, industry reps did not offer any details
on how much financial support, if any, they are willing to
contribute. They told MMYE officials that only a GOG-funded
certification process would be credible to Congress and
industry critics. Initially, MMYE Chief Director Addai
Kyeremeh countered that stakeholders felt industry and
consumers of Ghana's cocoa should finance a certification
solution. Then MMYE Deputy Minister for Social Development
Akosua Frema Osei-Opare interjected that she was willing to
explore a partnership between the GOG and industry to arrive
at a solution. She hinted that development partners such as
the USG should finance the certification. Osei-Opare said
she accepted that the GOG had the responsibility to ensure
that cocoa was child labor-free, but she pleaded that her
resource-strapped ministry had no budget to address the
problem. Industry reps and MMYE officials set aside the
funding issue and continued meeting to work out the logistics
of a certification process.


4. (SBU) Industry reps told MMYE officials that to prevent
legislation, a senior GOG official would need to publicly
state the GOG's commitment to eliminate the worst forms of
child labor in cocoa sufficiently in advance of the July 1
deadline. Industry reps said only a Cabinet member of high
stature such as the Minister of Trade and Industry, Minister
of Finance or President Kufuor himself would be a credible


spokesperson on this issue. (Note: Trade and Industry has
responsibility for Ghana's cocoa exports while Finance
oversees COCOBOD, the cocoa marketing board. End note.) They
suggested that Kufuor personally call members of Congress to
convey the GOG's commitment.


5. (SBU) On May 27 industry reps left Ghana with no funding
arrangement yet established. Osei-Opare told industry that
she would personally call Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, inister of
Tourism and Modernisation of the Capial City and President
John Kufuor's two-time presdential campaign manager, to ask
him to infor Kufuor of the July 1 deadline and its
ramifications by no later than May 27. However, she told post
on June 7 that she never made the call. She said MMYE was
consumed with the verification pilot and her only outreach on
this issue was to brief Deputy Minister of Finance Dr. George
Djan-Baffour. She said she planned to meet this week with
Djan-Baafour, a counterpart at the Ministry of Trade and
Industry and COCOBOD Chief Executive Kwame Sarpong who is
known to have direct access to Kufuor on cocoa matters. She
also said she would press for a meeting with President Kufuor
on this issue. (Note: Among senior Cabinet members, only
Minister for Finance and Economic Planning Kwadwo Baah Wiredu
has addressed this issue publicly since Kufuor's re-election.
He made a brief remark in the business press noting that he
had meetings in Washington on this topic earlier this year.
End note.)

--------------
MORE GOG MEETINGS
--------------


6. (SBU) On May 23 industry reps met with Jake Obetsebi
Lamptey, Minister of Tourism and Modernisation of the Capital
City and President John Kufuor's two-time presidential
campaign manager. The U.S. companies told PolOff they were
alarmed to hear Lamptey deny outright that Ghana used child
labor in cocoa production. They said that despite their close
work with MMYE over the past two years and numerous trips to
Ghana, clearly the GOG was spotty in its acknowledgment of
the problem at its highest levels. They later told MMYE
officials that if Lamptey's comment had appeared in the
press, it would have undermined all their efforts to persuade
members of Congress that significant progress toward
certification had been made. Osei-Opare said she completely
agreed and that President Kufuor needed to understand how
seriously legislation could harm Ghana's economy and
international image.


7. (SBU) On May 27, industry reps and their lobbyist met
Minister of Trade and Industry Alan Kyerematen to press for a
senior GOG official to take political leadership on the
issue. Industry's lobbyist, a former USTR official who
reportedly consults with the ministry on AGOA-related
opportunities, praised Kyerematen's skill, as a former
Ambassador to the U.S., in lobbying members of Congress to
block clauses that would have rendered AGOA less effective.
She said the GOG needed to settle on a credible certification
process and take it public in advance of the July 1 deadline.


8. (SBU) Kyerematen said he first became aware of the issue
as Ambassador to the U.S. in 2001 when British media reports
accused Cote d'Ivoire of using child slaves on cocoa
plantations. Kyerematen told industry reps, "In Washington,
you need someone speaking for you." He agreed that the issue
had the potential to seriously damage Ghana's cocoa exports
and international image, particularly if Ghana were believed
to be using child slaves in cocoa farming. He said
international observers must understand that Ghana is
addressing the poverty and lack of access to rural education
that result in child labor through a range of initiatives,
including expansion of basic education, school lunch programs
and the GOG's poverty reduction strategies. He also suggested
that the Minister of Education and Sports Yaw Osafo-Maafo and
the Minister of Finance could issue a public statement on
GOG's comprehensive approach to rural poverty and education.
While Kyerematen appeared receptive to industry's requests
for lobbying, he did not make any specific commitments to
speak out on the issue. However, the industry's lobbyist
proposed working with Kyermaten on a letter that would be


sent to key members of Congress, including the African Trade
and Investment Caucus. The lobbyist proposed that he use his
upcoming trip to the U.S. to inform members of Congress on
the GOG's efforts. He was noncommittal on these suggestions.

--------------
POST ADVOCACY
--------------


9. (SBU) On May 27 the Ambassador met with U.S. manufacturers
to discuss their advocacy efforts. Industry reps said they
had received a letter on May 24 from Senator Harkin which
acknowledged that much progress had been made on the
cocoa/child labor issue but requested a specific timetable
for when certification could be rolled out sectorwide.
Industry reps told the Ambassador they were unwilling to hang
their careers on fixed dates in a region with so much
unpredictability.


10. (U) The Ambassador suggested that the manufacturers
encourage Trade Minister Kyermaten to address the issue in
his speech to the Corporate Cuncil on Africa in Baltimore on
June 22. (Actin Minister of Finance Chief Director Seth
Addo sad Kyermaten is traveling, and he does not know
Kermaten's plan or whether he has spoken to Kufuor about the
issue. On June 7 industry's lobbyist said she had no
knowledge of any GOG plans to speak out and that she believed
the GOG was still doing due diligence on the extent of the
problem and possible solutions.) On June 3, the Ambassador
briefed Minister of Foreign Affairs Nana Akufo-Addo about the
cocoa issue, encouraging some GOG engagement on the issue
during President Kufuor's June 13-14 trip to Washington.


11. (U) Later on June 3, PolChief briefed the President's
secretary D.K. Ossei, who is also going to Washington with

SIPDIS
Kufuor, on the cocoa issue. Neither he nor the Foreign
Minister were aware of this issue prior to post's meeting but
appeared to understand its importance. Poloff also
accompanied U.S. manufacturers to their earlier meetings with
the MMYE and with Trade Minister Kyerematen.

--------------
Comment
--------------


12. (SBU) The next few weeks will be critical for the U.S.
manufacturers in their efforts to put together some kind of
child labor certification plan. There is potentially a great
deal at stake for Ghana as well, given the importance of
cocoa to its economy. After the May 24 meeting with MMYE,
U.S. industry reps said Osei-Opare was visibly shaken by the
burden of this issue, which has such large ramifications for
Ghana's economy. As the lead GOG ministry charged with
addressing child labor, MMYE has exerted much energy on this
issue. However, this ministry does not have the standing in
the Cabinet to claim the vast resources required to address
the worst forms of child labor in cocoa, nor do its leaders
have the credibility to lead Ghana to undertake significant
change in a critical sector of its economy. While MMYE is
taking the issue seriously, it has not yet garnered much
attention from senior Cabinet members or the President.
Without Kufuor's explicit blessing, likely Presidential
contenders like the Trade and Foreign ministers will be
cautious on this politically sensitive issue, which could
affect the livelihood of thousands of cocoa producers here.

YATES


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