ACA and USAID-West Africa Trade Hub Collaboration Results in US$2.4 million for Cashew Processor
On July 31st, a Togolese processor was approved for a US$2.4 million loan by the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID). This is the first loan granted by EBID resulting from an MOU signed between the African Cashew Alliance (ACA), the USAID West Africa Trade Hub, and EBID over a year ago. The MOU aimed to address one of the most substantial barriers to development in the cashew industry – access to finance.
“This agreement will open up access to medium- to long-term finance to cashew processors who need it,” said Roger Brou, director of business and finance at the USAID West Africa Trade Hub, when the MOU was signed in December 2010. “With access to finance, they can expand their operations, which will create badly needed jobs and bring more income into the regional economy.”
All of these original objectives will be impacted by the US$2.4 million loan. The financing will assist the processor in reaching a goal of expanding annual processing capacity sixfold, through project implementation at two facilities in central Togo. In addition to increasing production, the investment will also have substantial environmental and social impacts – funding the installation of a cashew nutshell (CNSL) unit and creating over 600 jobs, primarily for women. This groundbreaking cashew finance scheme reflects a successful public-private-partnership among ACA and USAID-West Africa Trade Hub as part of efforts to support emerging non-traditional export sectors.