Ivorian president's secret weapon: cocoa

By Kate Morris
Monday 24 January 2011 01:00

The price of cocoa is heading for a 33-year high after it became the latest weapon in the power struggle gripping Ivory Coast.

Alassane Ouattara, the internationally recognised president-elect of Ivory Coast, which accounts for 40 per cent of global cocoa exports, has imposed a one month export ban in an attempt to oust Laurent Gbagbo, who the international community said lost elections although he remains president.

Cocoa is the main source of income for the government of Ivory Coast and any stoppage in exports would cut funding that Mr Gbagbo relies on to stay in power.

The cocoa market closed on Friday at a six-month high of £2,114 a tonne, and prices are expected to jump today. Mr Ouattara sent a letter to leading cocoa exporters yesterday ordering them to stop overseas shipments until February 23.

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