The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has secured US$1.13 billion from a consortium of international banks and financial institutions to purchase cocoa beans in the 2022/23 cocoa season.
The board signed the agreement with the lenders on Monday (October 3, 2022) to pave way for the transfer of the funds from next week.
The agreement was signed by COCOBOD and Standard Chartered Bank Ghana Limited on behalf of the other lenders, numbering more than 20.
For the first time in the 30-year old history of the cocoa loan, the signing was witnessed by the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance, Charles Adu Boahen, and the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr Ernest Addison, Graphic Online's Maxwell Akalaare Adombilla reports.
Beyond funding cocoa purchases and related operations of the COCOBOD, the annual syndicated loan is critical to the country's foreign exchange reserves.
The timing makes it even more critical.
It comes at a time when the country has locked out of the international capital market, leading to dwindling reserves and a spike in cedi depreciation.
The currency lost more than 40 per cent of its value as of September 30, 2022.
The disbursement of the loan is expected to bring respite to the cedi, which could also ease inflationary pressures.