Real Leaders

The Ruthless Actor With a Heart Of Chocolate

Ben Affleck frequently plays arrogant and ruthless characters in his films, that often feature corrupt but well-meaning law enforcement figures and characters caught in situations out of their depth.

But off-screen, Affleck’s heart is easily melted. One of his goals is to kickstart organic chocolate production in the Congo, a country with more than 11,000 coffee farmers. Affleck is the founder of The Eastern Congo Initiative, that promotes public and private partnerships, combined with advocacy that drives public policy change. It’s helping create new opportunities for the people of eastern Congo after a decades-long conflict. All this, through the power of a coffee bean.

“Don’t just read the horror stories in the newspapers and turn off.” – Ben Affleck

Partnerships have been formed with Seattle-based confectioner Theo Chocolate, Starbucks and Falcon Coffees – all riding on the uplifting, economic promise of the small brown bean.

Less than three percent of the arable land in the Congo is being utilized as farmland due to ongoing conflicts, resulting in sustained poverty, malnutrition and unemployment. Affleck’s goal is to change this percentage and help Congolese reestablish a more healthy economy. Cacao is one crop that has a seemingly endless worldwide demand, even during economic downturns.

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