14 June 2018

Ghana: Exim Bank Aids Govt's Economic Transformation Agenda

Within one year of its establishment, resulting out of the consolidation of three state-owned institutions - (Export Trade Agricultural and Industrial Development Fund (EDAIF), Export Finance Company Limited and Eximguaranty Company Limited), the Ghana EXIM Bank is already heavily involved in the financing of initiatives that are profoundly changing the structure of the country's economy.

The Bank was set up by Act 911 in 2016 to facilitate the country's international trade and promote its capacity and competitiveness in the international market place. To build capacity and adopt best practices, the Ghana EXIM Bank has so far had collaborations with USAID, EXIM Bank of India, Korea EXIM, Turkey EXIM, Afrexim Bank, US EXIM Bank, China EXIM Bank.

The rest include: Berne Union, G-NEXID, SACE of Italy, AADFI, CDC of Canada, Credit Suisse and UKEF.

USAID: Provision of financial support for the completion of the merger and development of sustainable credit policies and internal risk management frameworks.

Indian EXIM: Institutional capacity building for export credit in Ghana.

Afrexim: Direct funding of USD 200 Million to support the Bank's operations.

US EXIM: Provision of a documentary credit line of USD 300 Million for the One District One Factory (1D1F) Initiative.

Credit Suisse: Provision of direct funding to support specific sectors ie Pharmaceutical Manufacturing, Local Poultry Production, and Cocoa Processing.

G-NEXID (Global Network of Export banks and Development Finance Institutions): Promotion of the Bank's brand visibility globally - south-south co-operation.

Berne Union (Association of Export Credit Agencies): Provision of technical assistance, access to market and networking.

The other export credit agencies as mentioned above on a group basis support the Bank with capacity building.

The Bank's 5 year strategic goals (2017-2022) are to increase revenue from non-traditional exports from its current average of USD 2.4 Billion to USD 5 Billion, develop crops such as avocado and cashew into major export products, reduce the nation's import bill for poultry by USD 300 Million to become a key finance partner for effective implementation of Government initiatives such as One District One Factory (1D1F) and to complement the effort of exporters making Ghana a strong pillar regionally and globally for example in Pharmaceutical manufacturing.

The Bank's strategy is aligned to the Government's 10 point Agenda for Industrial Transformation and also focuses on developing specific sectors such as: Garment and Apparel Manufacturing, Raw Material Base Development for Avocado, Cashew, Oil Palm and Cassava.

Ultimately, the Ghana EXIM Bank seeks to support the private sector with a view to improving the country's economic fortunes and therefore, in choosing enterprises it would support, Ghana EXIM Bank considers three key benchmarks which are derived from development instead of commercial objectives. These are employment creation, value addition through production efficiency and foreign exchange revenue potential.

The Bank is a development one, not a commercial one. It is therefore not regulated by the Central Bank like counterpart EXIM Banks around the world.

Crucially however, the bank has in place a strict risk management framework together with efficient monitoring strategies to ensure minimal impairment levels.

Its lending rate is the lowest in the industry at 8% per annum to support export and strategic importation. Each sector the Bank finances is selected based on the potential competitiveness in the West African Sub-region and indeed Africa as whole.

The Bank is focused primarily on raw material base development because it identifies this strategy as the key to sustained agro-processing. To this end, there is intensive advisory service as well as funding support for clients engaged in commercial farming.

Importantly, EXIM Bank is the main financial driver behind the government's flagship One District, One Factory (1D1F) Initiative which seeks to accelerate Ghana's industrialization and socio-economic development. It is anticipated that the programme will empower entrepreneurs by giving them access to market for their output and also create jobs.

So far EXIM Bank has approved GHS 417 Million to support SMEs under the above-mentioned initiative. Coordination between the 1D1F Secretariat and the Bank ensures that regional balance, project viability, availability of infrastructure and the corporate governance structure of each potential company is considered before each project is appraised by the Bank.

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