By Dan Shapley
Cocoa Is Latest Natural Resource To Be Used To Fund Violence: Report
The story of plunder and violence in Africa is told over and over again, with different characters and products: Rubber from the Congo, "blood diamonds" from Liberia -- and now, according to a new watchdog report, chocolate in the Ivory Coast. The Ivory Coast is the world's top cocoa exporter, supplying about 40% worldwide, and both the government and rebels have split about $88 million in export money and used it to split the country during a bloody civil war that ended -- at least tentatively -- in March with a peace accord. Global Witness, the group that published the report
, wants companies dealing in chocolate to make clear where their cocoa comes from, and how much money they pay to government or rebel factions. Consumers would have little ability to choose one brand over to avoid "conflict chocolate" -- which is why the group is calling on companies that deal in chocolate to certify that their operations won't swap natural resources for money that fuels war.