Ghana secured a financing facility of 1.3 billion US dollars from a group of international banks for buying of cocoa beans in the coming 2018/2019 crop season, the media were told here on Thursday.

The deal for the syndicated facility was signed on Thursday in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, where 21 banks including Standard Chartered Bank, HSBC and many others agreed to grant the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) the facility with an interest rate of 0.6 percent above the London Inter-Bank Offering Rate (LIBOR).

“By appending your signatures to this facility, you are not only sealing the deal but you are also indicating your confidence in the whole industry and by extension the entire country of Ghana,” Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ghana COCOBOD, told the lenders at the signing ceremony.

He added: “We are indeed encouraged by this confidence reposed in us and we want to assure you that it is not misplaced. Over the past 25 years, we have consistently maintained that explicit reputation of honoring repayment of the year-after-year syndicated loan without a single default. This record in the financial market is remarkable.”

Ghana expects to produce 900,000 metric tons of coca in the coming season after exceeding that mark last year.

“The deal has been done and it is left for Ghana to receive this money. And the first draw-down is in two weeks time. That will be half of the amount (650 million US Dollars) that should hit Bank of Ghana’s account by the fourth of October,“ he told the media in Ghana later via a skype video address.

Proceeds of the annual syndicated cocoa loan has been one of the major sources of support to cushion the local cedi currency.

The CEO however indicated that the country was also negotiating another medium to long-term facility of about 300 million dollars to finance operations in the sector including farm rehabilitation, dealing with the cocoa swollen shoot disease and irrigation of farms, expanding warehouses, and constructing roads in cocoa growing areas.

For this, he said a separate discussion was underway between Ghana and the financing institutions for possible support.

Meanwhile, as part of their bilateral cooperation on cocoa Ghana and western neighbors, La Cote d’Ivoire are set to do a concurrent announcement of opening of the cocoa season and new producer prices early next month. Enditem


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