BY SIMON NDIVE KALLA with online reportss
Speculations are running riot in CDC following the appointment of Hope Sona Ebai as new CDC board member.
A presidential decree on Wednesday, May 19, 2021, brings Hope Sona Ebai into the agro-industrial giant, the CDC. Pundits are already forecasting that the appointment is pregnant with future shake-up in the CDC.
While some already see him as a potential board chair especially as the current board chair, Justice Benjamin Itoe has already served his statutory mandate following the OHADA Uniform Act and taking into account that he is member of the National Commission on Bilingualism and Multiculturalism. Others think the appointment is to give the CDC a personality with much agricultural savvy nationally and internationally.
The CDC has been suffering of late from a power tussle between the board chair and the general manager which is seriously affecting staff morale. In a candid report to the agriculture minister, it was recommended that either the board chair or the general manager is replaced or both are replaced. It is not yet certain which option government shall take but what is certain is that the next CDC board meeting is being anxiously awaited.
Rich career profile
A former Managing Director of the National Cocoa and Coffee Council, ONCC, Hope Sona Ebai has close to 30 years of experience in the cocoa economy in Cameroon, in Africa and in the world.
After ONCC which he managed for seven years, this grandson of a cocoa producer occupied, during 11 years, the function of General Secretary of the Alliance of Cocoa Producing Countries, which represents 75% of the world cocoa beans production.
From this position in Copal, Hope Sona Ebai, a native from Manyemen, Kupe Muanenguba Division South West region of Cameroon, was the major force behind the organisation of the summits of Heads of State of African cocoa producing countries in Abuja in 2006, and Accra in 2007. He is also credited with the organisation of four international conferences on cocoa research.
Since his departure from Copal, he found a new home at the World Cocoa Foundation, WCF, an international organisation formed by the 100 biggest companies in the cocoa industry worldwide, and of which a major fund donor is American billionaire Bill Gates through his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Within this organisation representing 80% of the world cocoa industry, Hope Sona Ebai, a graduate in Economy from the Ohio State University, USA, steered the African Cocoa Initiative (ACI). Implemented in Cameroon, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria, this programme with a budget of approximately FCfa 7.5 billion over 5 years, seeks to establish as institutions efficient models to support the sustainable growth of the productivity and the improvement of food security in cocoa farms.
Among the accomplishments of the African Cocoa Initiative in Cameroon, we can cite support to the financing of the New Generation programme devised by the Cocoa and Coffee Inter-professional Council (CICC), which is meant to bring down the average age for producers and cocoa farms alike in the country; and funding for the implementation of a 15 hectares plant nursery, with the support of the Agricultural Research Institute for Development (IRAD), according to Brice R. Mbodiam of Business in Cameroon.
Sona Ebai has spent the last 25 years in integrated Rural Regional Development
Planning and Commodities be it in policy design and implementation or outreach and governance. He comes with impeccable credentials that have made him, in addition to hard work and a solid academic background, almost a household name in the world cocoa economy.
The CDC will certainly benefit a lot from Hope Sona Ebai’s experience, know-how and national/international aura.