Enhancing Coffee Excellence in Africa: The Role of the General Secretariat of IACO
The Inter-African Coffee Organisation (IACO) stands at the forefront of promoting and advancing the coffee industry across the African continent. At the heart of IACO’s operations lies the dedicated work of its General Secretariat, a dynamic and passionate team committed to the sustainable growth of Africa’s coffee sector. In this text, we delve into the vital role played by the General Secretariat in achieving IACO’s mission and the transformative impact it has on the African coffee industry.
IACO’s vision is to see Africa become a global leader in the coffee sector. To achieve this vision, its mission is multifaceted, encompassing the enhancement of coffee quality, sustainability, and the improvement of the livelihoods of coffee farmers and stakeholders. The General Secretariat is at the core of these efforts.
Key Functions of the General Secretariat:
- Facilitating Collaboration: The General Secretariat serves as a nexus for collaboration among African coffee-producing countries. It fosters dialogue, information exchange, and partnerships to harmonize policies and practices, thus bolstering the continent’s coffee sector as a whole.
- Market Research and Analysis: It conducts in-depth research and analysis of coffee markets, identifying trends, opportunities, and challenges. This knowledge empowers member countries to make informed decisions and adapt strategies to global market dynamics.
- Capacity Building: The General Secretariat plays a pivotal role in enhancing the capabilities of coffee growers and other stakeholders. Through training programs, technical assistance, and knowledge sharing, it empowers them to improve cultivation practices, harvests, and processing techniques.
- Quality Assurance: Ensuring high-quality coffee from Africa is a priority. The General Secretariat assists member countries in implementing quality standards, certifications, and traceability systems, ultimately enhancing the value and reputation of African coffee.
- Sustainable Practices: It promotes environmentally responsible coffee production methods, encouraging the adoption of sustainable farming practices that protect ecosystems and ensure the long-term viability of coffee farming in Africa.
- Advocacy and Representation: The General Secretariat represents African coffee-producing countries on the global stage. It advocates for fair trade practices, favorable policies, and market access, ensuring the interests of African coffee producers are heard and protected.
Achievements and Impact:
Over the years, the General Secretariat’s diligent efforts have borne fruit. African coffee has gained recognition for its quality and unique flavor profiles, resulting in increased demand worldwide. The livelihoods of countless coffee farmers have improved, and the continent’s coffee sector has become a model for sustainable and responsible production.
The General Secretariat of IACO is the driving force behind the organization’s mission to elevate Africa’s coffee industry to new heights. Through its collaborative approach, dedication to quality, and commitment to sustainability, it paves the way for a brighter future for African coffee, benefiting both the continent and the global coffee community. As IACO continues to work tirelessly through its General Secretariat, the future of African coffee remains promising, promising economic growth, social development, and a thriving coffee culture across the continent.
Inter African Coffee Organisation (IACO) Initiatives
The Inter-African Coffee Organisation (IACO) is one of the oldest inter-governmental organisations in Africa representing 25 coffee-producing countries almost half of the countries on the continent. IACO is a platform for institutional cooperation enabling the sharing of information and networking among member states as well as with the coffee private sector and civil society. More importantly, IACO acts as a bridge to solicit regional projects and technical assistance for its members with a view to strengthening their capacities and facilitating support from other financial partners like the African Development Bank (AFDB) and Africa Export and Import Bank.
Key Initiatives and Partnerships undertaken for IACO Members
- African Coffee Scientific Conference: The African Coffee Scientific Conference is one of the Africa Coffee Research Network (ACRN) tools to facilitate the exchange and dissemination of scientific information on coffee between the IACO Member States.
- The African Coffee Symposium: The African Coffee Symposium (ACS) was launched in November 2013, as a platform created to engage and involve the private sector as part of the IACO Annual Meetings. The ACS has enhanced the partnership and collaboration between the policymakers, government, and the coffee private sector.
- The Drink African Coffee Build Africa (DACBA): The DACBA initiative was launched in May 2021 and is aimed at promoting domestic coffee consumption in the member states through a multi-stakeholder approach in particular targeting the universities, private sector associations (sports, youth groups) public offices (MDAs Police) and retail outlets.
- The African Youth Barista Championship: The African Youth Barista Championship (AYBC) was launched in November 2022 mainly targeting African youth to build a coffee-drinking culture and create opportunities for job creation on the continent.
- The Inter Africa Coffee Training Institute (IACTI) was established in Abidjan in November 2022 as a joint venture between IACO and Café Continent (a private company) to train and equip youth with skills in roasting, brewing, cupping, and barista.
- The G25 Africa Coffee Summit: The G25 Africa Coffee Summit was launched in May 2022 as a political platform for Heads of State from the G25 to advocate for coffee to be adopted as a strategic crop at the AU.
- The Africa Coffee Week (ACW) was launched in September 2023 as a united platform for African coffee stakeholders to collectively address the challenges facing the industry and explore opportunities and initiatives for the transformation of the coffee value chain. IACO will partner with the main coffee private sector Associations in Africa (AFCA & ACRAM) to host the week every year during the month of February in the G25 member states.
- The African Coffee Facility (ACF): A proposal was submitted to Afreximbank for a facility of USD 950 million to which the bank pledged USD 500 million. The creation of an African Coffee Development Fund is aimed at financing projects that provide solutions to the myriad of challenges across the African coffee value chain. The ACF is expected to fund the development of new coffee processing facilities at origin. This is expected to add value and create jobs for the youth within the African bloc.
IACO is fully committed to the transformation of the African coffee sector in partnership with the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and has adopted a new coffee agreement which is currently in the process of ratification by the respective member states and is expected to be implemented in 2024.