GHANA – World’s second largest cocoa producing country, Ghana, is set to receive US$1.5 billion financing from a consortium of local and international financial institutions, to finance cocoa purchases for the 2021/2022 Cocoa Season.
The sector’s regulatory body, Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) inked the multi-billion-dollar Pre-export Syndicated Finance agreement with a total of 28 institutions, made up of 4 local and 24 international financial institutions.
The Initial Mandated Lead Arrangers were Standard Charted Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Coöperatieve Rabobank, MUFG Bank Ltd, Natixis, Nedbank Ltd and Ghana international Bank.
The four local banks include: EcoBank Ghana Limited, Standard Chartered Bank, Société General Ghana Limited and Absa Ghana Limited.
Chief Executive of COCOBOD, Hon Joseph Boahen Aidoo, expressed gratitude to the financial partners for their trust in Ghana’s cocoa industry and continued support to the operations of the industry.
“The support we have received from our financial partners has been very consistent and enormous. Management of COCOBOD sincerely appreciates your unflinching commitment in these difficult times,” he noted.
The facility, which was contracted at a competitive interest rate plus LIBOR of 1.10%, a marked improvement upon last year’s 1.75%, will also be used to finance operational activities within the crop season.
Speaking on behalf of the lenders, Mrs Mansa Nettey, the Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Bank, Ghana Plc, said the financial institutions remain committed to a continuous beneficial relationship with COCOBOD.
She said the facility received commitments in excess of US$1.7billion due to COCOBOD’s impeccable credit profile and market relationships.
According to Hon Aidoo, despite the challenges that the cocoa industry faced as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the country was able to achieve its target of significantly increasing productivity per hectare, leading to the attainment of a record high production at the end of the 2020/21 crop season.
“I wish to officially inform stakeholders that through our continued implementation of the Productivity Enhancement Programmes (PEPs), at the close of the 2020/21 crop year, cocoa beans purchased stood at 1,045,500mt, breaking the 10-year-old record set in the 2010/2011 crop year which was 1,024,526mt,” he stated.
He expressed confidence in a “blissful future” for Ghana’s cocoa industry and invited all stakeholders along the value chain to challenge themselves to achieve greater milestones in the coming season.
Hon. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Minister for Food and Agriculture, reiterated saying Ghana’s cocoa industry has served as an icon of good corporate governance in the sub-region and has remained vibrant because of its continued partnership with relevant stakeholders across the globe.
He commended the Management of COCOBOD for the prudent leadership of the cocoa sector, especially, in the past couple of difficult years.
The Minister assured the consortium of banks that put together the US$1.5 billion amount that the facility would be fully committed to its intended purpose, which is to ensure prompt payment to farmers for their produce at the buying centres.