GHANA – Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has signed a US$1.13billion pre-export receivables backed trade finance facility with a consortium of international and local financial institutions to finance cocoa purchases for the 2022/2023 cocoa season.
The facility, which would attract an interest rate of 1.75%, will also be used to finance operational activities within the crop season.
The Standard Chartered Bank, Coöperatieve Rabobank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), MUFG Bank Ltd, Natixis and Ghana International Bank plc were the Initial Mandated Lead Arrangers for the facility.
Bank of China Limited, London branch joined the facility as Senior Mandated Lead Arranger, while DZ BANK AG Deutsche Zentral-Genossenschaftsbank, Frankfurt am Main and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (“BADEA”) joined as Mandated Lead Arrangers.
Ecobank joined as Arranger, while The OPEC Fund, United Bank for Africa PLC, Ahli United Bank B.S.C. and Federated Hermes Inc joined as Lead Managers, with AfrAsia Bank Limited, Citibank N.A, Absa Bank Ghana Limited and GCB Bank Plc acting as Managers.
Mr Peter Mac Manu, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), who also chaired the signing said he was delighted about the attainment of the facility.
“…from where Ghana is sitting right now, people thought it will be very difficult for us to get the signing ceremony executed. But cocoa is cocoa, and we call it the ‘golden pod’, so it must always shine.
“We have done this syndication for the past 30 years. I’m happy that it continues to have the confidence of the financiers because we have never defaulted, and we will not default,” he assured.
Hon Joseph Boahen Aidoo, the Chief Executive of COCOBOD, stated that despite the challenges facing the cocoa sector, brought on by the global financial difficulties, the sector had once again shown leadership.
He said going into the international financial market this year was a very daunting task due to the challenges that the country is facing.
“But we went into the international market this year with the best minds. We were able to launch an amount of 1 billion US dollars in August and today we have 1.13 billion US dollars committed for signing,” he stated.
He gave assurance that the funds will be used “effectively and efficiently” to support cocoa farmers and the industry.
“In spite of all the challenges, we also want to assure the sector minister, the minister of finance and the entire country that we will make sure that we improve upon our performance.
“Already the outlook is good for this crop season…. We will work hard and make sure that we make the whole country proud,” he said.
Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister of Finance, who witnessed the signing event expressed gratitude to the board and management of COCOBOD and the financial partners, particularly, the Standard Charted bank for “shepherding” the facility to its success. He said the signing gives reason for optimism in the Ghanaian economy.
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