Une croissance alimentée par le chocolat

VIENNE - En tant qu’Africain, mon rêve pour la prochaine décennie consisterait à voir ce continent produire et vendre du chocolat à 300 millions de Chinois, au lieu d’exporter des produits comme le cacao sous leur forme brute. Il y a quelques semaines, lors du congrès sino-africain de Xiamen, en Chine, j’ai testé cette conception sur le public, et les plus de 2 000 délégués présents ont applaudi de concert avec enthousiasme. Les chefs d’entreprise et de gouvernement sont clairement prêts à voir l’Afrique embrasser un changement structurel afin de créer des économies nationales basées sur la production industrielle.

Bien que de nombreux observateurs aient vanté le succès de l’Afrique dans le maintien d’un taux moyen de croissance du PIB aux alentours de 5-6% au cours des dix dernières années, ce constat masque la réalité d’une Afrique sub-saharienne seulement  légèrement plus développée en 2005 qu’un quart de siècle plus tôt : elle était alors toujours la région la plus pauvre de la planète, avec plus de la moitié de sa population vivant avec moins de 1,25 $ par jour en termes de pouvoir d’achat. Dans cette région, les campagnes évoluent sur un tapis roulant de la pauvreté qui ne mène nulle part.

Il faut que cela change. La stratégie orthodoxe des années soixante d’une croissance reposant sur l’agriculture, antidote privilégié à cinq décennies de doctrine de l’aide au « paysan heureux », doit être remplacée par une stratégie de développement du secteur agroalimentaire dans le cadre de laquelle décideurs politiques, donateurs et entrepreneurs visent la chaîne de valeur toute entière afin de soutenir un changement faisant de produits en vrac des produits agro-industriels manufacturés.

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