On Wednesday, September 18, the Africa Center hosted a private roundtable with H.E. Dominique Ouattara, first lady of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire. In her remarks, Madame Ouattara discussed progress and obstacles to eliminating child labor in Côte d’Ivoire, addressing recent calls from Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) to put an embargo on US imports of Ivorian cocoa.
Madame Ouattara used the event as a platform to clarify the statistics on forced and child labor in the cocoa sector, to highlight Côte d’Ivoire’s $127 million action plan to combat child labor, and to call on participants to oppose the proposed embargo. The Honorable Dwight Evans (Congressman, D-PA) was in attendance, as well as senior representatives from several US government agencies, chocolate and confectionery companies, and relevant NGOs.