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US$600m COCOBOD facility will be released soon - AfDB assures

By Justice Kofi Bimpeh
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Dean of African Development Bank, AfDB Executive Directors, Bright Okogu says the US$600 million COCOBOD facility will soon be released.

According to Bright Okogu, processes that both AfDB and COCOBOD are to meet are delaying the release of the money.

Mr. Okogu stated that the processes will be completed very soon for the funds to be released to COCOBOD.

“The facility of US$600m is one of those engagements with the AfDB. There are processes you go through before we release the [funds] and I believe very shortly the processes would be completed on both sides and whatever releases that will be done, will be done.”

Addressing the media after the meeting between COCOBOD and AfDB, Head of Public Affairs for COCOBOD, Fiifi Boafo said discussions are still ongoing to be able to access the fund. 

He indicated that the facility will allow them to undertake a number of activities which include the rehabilitation of farms to ensure processing, conduct a farmer census and promote the consumption.

“One other thing that came out of the meeting is cocoa going beyond production into processing. The CEO has indicated that it will be the wish of government to get funding and support for entrepreneurs to go into processing and into artisanal chocolate manufacturing in our country.

READ ALSO: COCOBOD hopeful $600m loan will be approved

He explained that “It is their expectation that when proposals are made before the bank, it will be given the necessary consideration because it is accepted by both sides that in order to realize the full benefit of the cocoa industry, just producing cocoa would not be enough. There is a need to go into processing. What we accept is that there is the need for entrepreneurs who want to go into semi-finished or to the tertiary level to be supported with."

US$600m COCOBOD facility

The African Development Bank, Credit Suisse AG, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited and Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) signed a US$600 million syndicated receivables-backed term loan in November last year to boost cocoa production in Ghana.

The Bank, as Original DFI Lender and Initial Mandated Lead Arranger, has partnered with Credit Suisse as Original Commercial Lender, Global Commercial Coordinator, Co-Mandated Lead Arranger.

Credit Suisse is also acting as Joint Commercial Underwriter and Bookrunner to structure and fund a dual-tranche facility comprising a US$250 million, 7-year DFI tranche with the Bank, as well as a US$350 million, 5-year commercial tranche.

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited, London branch joined as an Original Commercial Lender, Co-Mandated Lead Arranger and Joint Commercial Underwriter and Bookrunner ahead of syndication.

The document that requested approval for the loan revealed that US$140 million would be used to fight Cocoa Swollen Shoot Virus Disease(CSSVD), US$50 million to build more cocoa warehouses, US$200 million to promote the domestic processing of cocoa and US$10.6 million to establish a database of cocoa farmers in the country.

It further showed that US$40 million would be invested in irrigation services, US$68 million in COCOBOD’s hand pollination initiative and US$7.5 million to promote the domestic consumption of cocoa products.

The AfDB has extended the same credit amount to Cote d’Ivoire under an initiative meant to improve cocoa production in the world’s two biggest growers of the crop.

AfDB’s total portfolio in Ghana so far amounts to US$900m which ranges from agriculture, infrastructure, capacity building support as well as social sector areas.