The Ghana Cocoa board (COCOBOD) on Wednesday signed a 1.5 billion dollars pre-export trade finance facility for the purchase of cocoa for the 2012/2013 season.
The facility, which was fully underwritten by the Initial Mandated Lead Arrangers, was oversubscribed and banks commitments were scaled back following a successful syndication.
Proceeds of the facility will be used to finance cocoa purchases for the coming season. Standard Chartered bank will act as facility agent and Ghana international bank plc will act as collections agent.
Speaking at the ceremony in Accra, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, expressed the country’s gratitude to both the local and foreign financiers for the confidence shown in the Ghanaian economy.
“I wish to express my profound gratitude to our financiers, both local and foreign, for the confidence shown in the Ghanaian economy in general and the cocoa industry in particular,” he said.
Dr. Duffuor said the cocoa industry remained the major backbone of the Ghanaian economy and would continue to play its lead role despite the coming on stream of oil and gas.
It is in this direction that COCOBOD with the support of the government has provided incentives that had resulted in a major boost of the cocoa industry.
The Minister said the trade finance was not backed by government guarantee but by the produce it seeks to support, attributing the success to cocoa farmers who work to ensure that the produce was available for sale to pay back the loan.
Dr. Duffuor attributed the oversubscription of the facility to government’s good economic policies and COCOBOD’s exceptional performance.
“Your participation in this year’s arrangement is therefore not only opportune but a reflection of the confidence that you have in the government and the economy,” he said, adding that the medium term growth prospects of the Ghanaian economy remained favourable.
“I wish to assure the international community of government’s commitment to ensure a stable and friendly environment for business,” Dr. Duffuor said.
Mr. Anthony Fofie, Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, said to move the Ghanaian cocoa sector forward, the sector would take advantage of available technology to expand sales activities, improve operations and enhance collection of sales proceeds.
He said COCOBOD was exploring cooperation in the area of marketing, extension; pest disease control and cross border movement of cocoa beans.
Mr. Kwamina Asomaning, Director Corporate and Investment Banking Stanbic Bank, said the bank’s commitment to facility was 100million dollars, adding that, the bank was pleased to contribute to the development of the cocoa sector as a demonstration of its loyalty to the country.