November 13, 2019: The African Development Bank (AfDB), Credit Suisse, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) and Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) signed a $600 million syndicated receivables-backed term loan, to boost cocoa productivity in Ghana - the world’s second-largest cocoa producer.

Ghanaian president Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the president of the AfDB Akinwumi Adesina, senior officials from Credit Suisse and ICBC, oversaw the signing at a ceremony held at Africa Investment Forum in Johannesburg.

The COCOBOD transaction was launched at the Africa Investment Forum in 2018, and a year later, the signing is a demonstration of the forum’s ability to raise much-needed financing, including from international commercial financiers, for projects in Africa. Prior to the agreement, COCOBOD did not have access to long-term debt capital.

Akufo-Addo said the agreement would help to ensure higher incomes for Ghana’s cocoa farmers. “It was critical that we find a mechanism for scaling up the value chain for our farmers and that is where the bank came in. We see this agreement as a turning point and to what is possible on this continent.”

The bank, as original DFI lender and initial mandated lead arranger, is partnering with Credit Suisse as an original commercial lender, global commercial coordinator, co-mandated lead arranger. Credit Suisse is also acting as a joint commercial underwriter and bookrunner to structure and fund a dual-tranche facility comprising a $250 million, 7-year DFI tranche with the bank, as well as a $350 million, 5-year commercial tranche.

Making sure that Africa gets to the top of the value chain is one of the African Development’s Bank’s top priorities, Adesina said, adding that Africa could become a global hub for cocoa and cocoa-based products.

COCOBOD will use the facility to raise cocoa yields per hectare and increase Ghana’s overall production. These include financial interventions to sustainably increase cocoa plant fertility, improving irrigation systems, rehabilitating aged and disease-infected farms. The funds will also help increase warehouse capacity and provide support to local cocoa-processing companies.

The Africa Investment Forum, an initiative of the AfDB is an innovative, multi-stakeholder transactional marketplace, dedicated to raising capital, advancing projects to bankable stage, and accelerating financial closure of deals.

Ghana’s cocoa sector employs some 800,000 rural families and produces crops worth about $2 billion in foreign exchange annually. COCOBOD is a fully state-owned company solely responsible for Ghana’s cocoa industry, controlling the purchase, marketing, and export of all cocoa beans produced in the country.

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