NEXIM Bank, AFREXIM Bank, Others Move to Revamp Cocoa Sector

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Obinna Chima

In the bid to revive the ailing cocoa Industry in the country, the Afreximbank and the International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO) met with the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) and the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) to discuss possible ways of intervention and development of the Cocoa Industry in Nigeria.

The visiting team was led by the Regional Head of Project Finance Afreximbank, Mr. Kofi Adumaku, and Mr. A.S Kurama of the Bank of Agriculture.

The Ag MD/CEO of NEXIM Bank, Mr. Bashir Wali, in welcoming the group gave a brief overview of the activities of NEXIM Bank and expressed great delight in this initiative organised by Afreximbank, the Federal Government of Nigeria and the ICCO towards reviving the cocoa industry in Nigeria.

He further explained that NEXIM Bank as an export credit institution charged with the mandate to promote export diversification of the non-oil sector had in the past supported the cocoa value chain by funding major cocoa processing plants such as Ile –Oluji, Multi –Trex and Stan Mark under the ADB/ESL facility and stated that the story of the cocoa industry, especially as it relates to processing, in Nigeria cannot be told without the mention of NEXIM Bank.

In his response, Adumaku indicated that Nigeria had been the sleeping giant in the industry, having lost its former enviable position of being the largest producer of cocoa in the world, to the fourth largest producer after Ivory Coast, Ghana and Indonesia.

He informed NEXIM Bank that a decision had been reached by the federal government in collaboration with all relevant stakeholders in the industry to come up with a 5-year strategic plan towards the revamping and sustained development of the cocoa industry in Nigeria.

Wali thanked the visiting team and said there was need for cooperation and input from all the stakeholders and synergy between the financial institutions to achieve any meaningful development in the cocoa industry.

The NEXIM MD expressed the commitment of the bank to provide funding interventions especially to entrepreneurs involved in cocoa processing; and urged major players and stakeholders in the industry to avail themselves of the single digit interest under the N500 billion Export Stimulation Facility (ESF) provided by the Central Bank of Nigeria which is being managed by the Bank.