The International Finance Corporation, IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, signed a FCFA 10.2 billion (€ 15.5 million) investment with Standard Chartered Bank Cameroon. The investment is part of a 20.3 billion (EUR 31 million) one-year pre-export facility provided by Standard Chartered Bank Cameroon to Société de Développement du Coton (Sodecoton), IFC has said.
The facility will be used to finance the cotton campaign, mainly for the purchase of seed cotton from smallholder farmers, the ginning of seed cotton by Sodecoton and the transportation of lint cotton to the port of Douala for exports to international markets.
Sodecoton, a State-owned enterprise, purchases 100% of the country’s seed cotton production. Cotton is the most important agriculture crop in Northern Cameroon.
Mehita Sylla, IFC Country Manager for Central African sub-region, said “It is crucial for IFC to support the cotton sector in Cameroon. As you know, Cotton is the largest source of employment in Northern Cameroon, providing livelihood to approximately 3 million people”.
For Chuks Ugha, CEO, Standard Chartered Bank Cameroon, “This is an excellent example of collaboration between Standard Chartered Bank and IFC/World Bank to support Sodecoton. The company has been in operation for more than 40 years. It is a strategic company for the Government of Cameroon”. He added “We look forward to further collaboration with IFC on similar transactions”.
The IFC statement said the institution will also explore the provision of advisory services to the farmers in collaboration with Sodecoton, to strengthen the cotton value chain. Such a support could potentially include financial management, good agricultural practices and soil management.