The European Investment Bank (EIB) expects the gender-lending initiative to allow women play a more active role in economies. This is even as the African Development Bank (AfDB), Credit Suisse, Industrial & Commercial Bank of China and Ghana Cocoa Board ink $600 million loan agreement to boost cocoa production.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has announced a $1.1 billion lending programme to help women entrepreneurs on the continent. EIB Vice President, Ambroise Fayolle, also revealed that the bank has signed three further agreements to boost sustainable development on the continent.
Women to play more active role But the major deal is what the EIB has dubbed SheInvest. The EIB expects the gender-lending initiative to allow women to play a more active role in economies. “This initiative aims to promote female entrepreneurship,” said Fayolle, noting that female entrepreneurs will also gain business skills from the initiative. He explained that the financing will promote gender investment related to climate change and is part of broader European engagement to provide targeted support for new investment that supports increased female economic participation in Africa.
Premier marketplace The announcement was made at the Africa Investment Forum in Johannesburg, where hundreds of investors, development partners and wealth funds have gathered from 11 to 13 November for the continent’s premier marketplace. The EIB is the lending arm of the European Union. The EIB has supported investment in Africa for more than 50 years. Last year, it provided a record €3.3 billion to African countries, with more than half the funds being pumped into the private sector.
Climate finance As one of the largest providers of climate finance, the investment bank has also struck a deal with Guinea-based telecommunications provider, IPT PowerTech Group, which will see the company abandon fossil fuels for cleaner sources of power such as solar and wind. Move to renewable sources of energy
Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at IPT PowerTech Group, Mohamed Al Habbal, said the move to renewable sources of energy such as solar power will help the company reduce its carbon footprint. Habbal estimates that thousands jobs will be created as a result of this deal. A further deal that was signed on the first day of the second Africa Investment Forum, will see African Trade Insurance increase its membership in Western and Southern Africa. This increased insurance coverage is expected to attract more investment to the continent.
New lending programme In Southern Africa the EIB confirmed a new lending programme to support access to finance by entrepreneurs across Malawi and confirmed a new scheme to finance smallholders in the country to be launched early next year. A Senior Manager at Malawi’s FDH Bank, Patricia Hamisi, said the money will help the bank enhance its long-term credit to small businesses owned by women. “The agreement comes with technical assistance which will help the bank enhance its trade financing,” said Hamisi. The Africa Investment Forum inaugural edition was launched in 2018 in partnership with Africa50, Afrexim Bank, the Trade Development Bank, the Development Bank of South Africa, the Islamic Development Bank, the Africa Finance Corporation, the European Investment Bank. The 2019 Forum runs from 11 to 13 November in Johannesburg, South Africa.
In a related development, the African Development Bank (AfDB), Credit Suisse, Industrial & Commercial Bank of China and Ghana Cocoa Board have inked $600 million loan deal to boost cocoa production.
The multi-million dollar agreement is a milestone for the bank-convened Africa Investment Forum.
Scaling up the cocoa value chain
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of Ghana, speaking, said, “The agreement is a turning point for scaling up the cocoa value chain.”
While President, African Development Bank, Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, said “Ghana is bankable, cocoa is bankable and of course Africa is bankable.”
A boost for Ghana’s cocoa production The African Development Bank, Credit Suisse AG, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited and Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) signed the $600 million syndicated receivables-backed term loan on Tuesday, to boost cocoa productivity in Ghana – the world’s second-largest cocoa producer. Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the President of the African Development Bank Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, senior officials from Credit Suisse and ICBC, oversaw the signing of the facility, at a ceremony held on the second day of the 2019 Africa Investment Forum.
Transforming the continent’s investment and development agenda The multi-million dollar agreement is a milestone for the Bank-convened Africa Investment Forum, a transactional platform dedicated to transforming the continent’s investment and development agenda, which kicked off in Sandton City Johannesburg on Monday.
The much needed financing 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. At a press conference following the signing, President 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,” Akufo Addo said. “We see this agreement as a turning point and…to what is possible on this continent.”
Deal broken into tranches The Bank, as original DFI lender and initial mandated lead arranger, is partnering 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 $250 million, 7-year DFI tranche with the Bank, as well as a $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. Syndication of the facility is underway Making sure that Africa gets to the top of the value chain is one of the African Development’s Bank’s top priorities, President Adesina said, adding that Africa could become a global hub for cocoa and cocoa-based products. “All cocoa producing countries will get similar support (from the Bank). Ghana is bankable, cocoa is bankable and of course Africa is bankable,” Adesina said.
Support to local cocoa-processing companies 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. Signing for Credit Suisse, Madthav Patki said the “landmark” transaction would facilitate future long-term investment in the Ghanaian cocoa sector. “This is a positive contribution to a key sector of Ghana’s economy. “It is a moment of tremendous pride…This is what the Africa Investment Forum is all about,” Patki said. He also commended the Bank’s signature expertise in financial instruments, that enabled them to leverage financing for the deal. The Africa Investment Forum, an initiative of the African Development Bank 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.