Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has secured a $600 million syndicated loan facility from the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Credit Suisse Group AG, to finance key components of the organisation’s productivity enhancement programmes.
The signing ceremony for the COCOBOD AfDB loan took place on the sidelines of the 2nd Edition of the Africa Investment Forum, on Tuesday in Johannesburg, South Africa, a ceremony witnessed by the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
It would be recalled that, in 2017, discussions first took place between President Akufo-Addo, and Dr Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, regarding the urgent need for the transformation of Ghana’s cocoa sector.
These discussions and subsequent follow-up meetings culminated in Tuesday’s signing ceremony, which will ensure that COCOBOD implements production, warehousing and processing interventions, with the ultimate aim of boosting farmers’ incomes, and adding value to Ghana’s cocoa beans.
In delivering this facility, the African Development Bank has acted as the mandated lead arranger with a tranche of $250 million, and Credit Suisse arranging the commercial tranche of up to $350 million, with ICBC acting as joint underwriter.
In his remarks, President Akufo-Addo thanked the African Development Bank and Credit Suisse for their support for Ghana’s bid to enhance her infrastructure in the cocoa industry.
With Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire responsible for 65% of the world’s output of cocoa, and with the global chocolate industry worth some $100 billion industry, the President noted that it is not right that the farmers, whose labour and toil, are responsible for growing the cocoa, get only some $6 billion for their effort.
President Akufo-Addo said, “Very fortunately for me, the Ivorian leader, Alassane Ouattara, had the same point of view as myself. We found out that we have a mutual assessment of what was the reality, and the need for us to do something about this arithmetic, and change the dynamics of the industry for our farmers.”
He added, “That is why the production and marketing policies of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, i.e. COCOBOD and Conseil du Café-Cacao, through the Strategic Partnership, have merged their production and marketing policies, and are now entering the market at a certain basic floor price in order to increase the earnings of our farmers.”
At the same time, the noted it is critical to find a mechanism to scale up the value chain production of Ghanaian cocoa farmers and the industry, “and that where AfDB came in, and led the process together with Credit Suisse, and put this package together that will enable us to undertake the process of transformation, and scaling up the value chain with warehousing and processing facilities.”
The end result of all of this, President Akufo-Addo was confident, will be a considerable enhancement of the incomes of cocoa farmers.
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