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IFC, Partners Sign Agreement to Improve Access to Finance for Cocoa Farmers in West Africa

Washington, DC, October 22, 2010 —IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has signed an agreement with the World Cocoa Foundation and the Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative to explore and implement a cocoa farm finance program in West Africa to provide better access to finance for farmers, helping increase local, sustainable production.
The planned multi-year West Africa Cocoa Finance Program will be carried out in partnership with global cocoa manufacturers, processors, and traders, including Nestlé, Mars Incorporated, Cargill, Armajaro, and Archer Daniels Midland Company.
Bill Guyton, President of the World Cocoa Foundation, said, “IFC has a long track record of advisory and investment services in access to finance knowledge management, agri-finance, and promoting environmentally and socially sustainable supply chain linkages with small farmers. We look forward to working with IFC to leverage that expertise, along with the Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative and key industry players, in support of these farmers and their families.”
Joost Oorthuizen, Director of the Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative, said, “Extending the outreach of financial markets to smallholder cocoa farmers is vital for improving their businesses and livelihoods, but it is also a business opportunity for the finance sector. We believe this partnership can develop that business case. We look forward to working with IFC, the World Cocoa Foundation and global cocoa manufacturers and traders in this important and innovative initiative.”
Monika Weber-Fahr, IFC Global Business Line Leader, Sustainable Business Advisory, said, "This is an innovative partnership, for us and for our partners. To improve the conditions under which financing is available to smallholder cocoa farmers, we need to understand the constraints and opportunities better, and our respective organizations' experiences should help us make a meaningful difference in a sector that impacts the livelihood of at least 20 million farmers and their families throughout West Africa."
West Africa is the source of 70 percent of the world’s cocoa supply, but many farmers in the region lack sufficient access to finance to increase productivity and improve the quality of their beans.
The program will begin work by studying the conditions and constraints under which smallholder cocoa farmers access finance in Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Ghana, and Nigeria. It will also include training and capacity building to help increase productivity, and improve financial literacy and environmental standards.
About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in developing countries. We create opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We do so by providing financing to help businesses employ more people and supply essential services, by mobilizing capital from others, and by delivering advisory services to ensure sustainable development. In a time of global economic uncertainty, our new investments climbed to a record $18 billion in fiscal 2010. For more information, visit .
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