The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (Nexim) are developing a funding programme to help revive the Nigerian cocoa sector as the country’s leading non-oil export sector.

Following a two-day strategy meeting, the two banks announced that the programme will provide financing to meet working capital requirements with the aim of increasing production capacity, and medium to long-term finance to upgrade existing production facilities and establish new processing and manufacturing facilities. They also plan on enhancing market access to processors for higher value-added products.

The banks have yet to agree on the amount of funding that the programme would support. An Afreximbank spokesperson tells GTR that a committee has been set up to work out the details, but no allocation has been made as yet, as that will depend on the recommendations of the committee.

“This intervention will help the Nigerian cocoa sector to regain its place as a leading foreign exchange earner for the country, revamp value-adding activities in the sector and contribute to Nigeria’s economic stability, particularly in the current difficult economic environment occasioned by foreign exchange liquidity challenges,” says Benedict Oramah, president of Afreximbank.

The regional Sealink project, which is aimed at fostering intra-regional trade in West Africa, and the Nigerian solid minerals sector will also be benefiting from Afreximbank and Nexim joining forces. The banks will partner to support investments in key logistics and ports infrastructures by providing financial advisory services and funding programmes to encourage the scaling up of mining operations.

They will also conduct a diagnostic study towards designing and developing a mining sector funding intervention programme, the financing of mining infrastructure and the provision of equity advisory services.