The Ivorian cocoa industry has had to be completely reorganised after the profiteering which went on during the Gbagbo regime. Twenty two senior industry figures were prosecuted for having misappropriated CFA francs 300 billion (€457 million) between 2002 and 2010. Having engendered multiple scandals, the entities which structured the sector, notably the coffee and cocoa exchange, the regulation and control fund and the coffee and cocoa regulation authority, were all closed down and replaced by the Conseil Café-Cocoa (CCC), which was modelled on the Ghana Cocoa Board.


President Alassane Ouattara brought in Massandjé Touré-Litsé to run the new entity. A discreet US trained financial technician, she is close to National Assembly president Guillaume Soro, who had a hand in the appointment of former Henri Konan Bédié minister Lambert Kouassi Konan as CCC chairman. The cocoa sector is vital for Ivory Coast, which is the world’s leading producer with an output of 1.7 million tonnes in 2014. It has been reorganised, therefore, but nevertheless remains under the control of people close to the head of state in line with the principle Ouattara inherited from his predecessors, who used it in some cases for their private purposes.

One of the consequences of the 2011 reform has been the arrival of new players looking to get a share of the industry’s wealth. These players, whose emergence we describe below, also have links with the presidency. They include Loïc Folloroux, head of Africa Sourcing, and Zoumana Bakayoko, founder of Agro West Africa. As for the big groups, including, notably, the "Big Four" - ADM, Cargill, Barry Callebaut and Cémoi - and leading Ivorian exporter SAF-Cacao, they continue to rely on experienced local representatives who are often leading figures in the industry, like emblematic Cargill West Africa head Lionel Soulard, who has been active in Ivory Coast for the last 20 years.