Apr 14 - Easter's around the corner and it's not just the big brands ready to cash in. As Hayley Platt reports a group of young Togolese entrepreneurs are on a mission to create Africa's own world class chocolate brand, using only local ingredients.
It's painstaking work. But that doesn't worry these budding entrepreneurs in Togo. They're making chocolate for their own brand 'Chocotogo'. It's part of a scheme, backed by the EU, to help young people get into work. Pascaline Akakpo is one of 60 who travelled to Italy to learn the art. (SOUNDBITE) (French) PASCALINE AKAKPO, ENTREPRENEUR, SAYING: "I'm shelling the cocoa beans. You need to shell them to get to the nut inside. Before that they need to be roasted." As you can see. But well before that, you need to roast them, before you shell them." Cocoa is Togo's second largest export after coffee. But chocolate isn't actually made in the country. That's something project organisers hope to change. (SOUNDBITE) (French) ERIC AGBOKOU, COCOA PROJECT COORDINATOR, SAYING: "We decided we can produce our own cocoa paste at the quantity we want. Our pastes are 100 percent organic, with no chemical additives, it's a very good healthy product." Chocotogo may not be able to compete with the big brands yet. But they have showcased their chocolate to international buyers. And they are a good example of a new approach in Africa. Instead of western firms profiting from Africa's natural rescources local ones are trying to cash in helping combat unemployment and poverty at the same time.