Access to Finance
While the African cashew processing sector is constantly moving towards an ever more stable and sustainable business environment, the industry still faces challenging access to finance limitations. Working capital, trade finance and expansion capital needs are often unmet, as most financial institutions are still unfamiliar with the cashew processing industry, and many processors lack the capacity to develop bankable loan requests. Local and regional financial institutions are still mostly working with the short-term raw nut trade and export financing, while mid- and long-term financing for cashew processing remain unexplored areas for most of them.
To overcome these challenges, since 2009 the ACA has been providing technical assistance to the industry with grant support from the USAID West Africa Trade Hub. Currently ACA is providing A2F services in Nigeria, Togo, Guinea Bissau, Senegal, and Gambia, in cooperation with expert financial consultants who are familiar with the specific challenges in each country.
- A2F for working capital and capital investment
- Finance projections and bankable business planning
- Loan application, finance procurement and financing lobbying with financial institutions and potential guarantee providers (commercial and development banks)
- Market guarantees through international buyers and facilitation in export sales contracts
- Hands-on follow-up technical assistance following loan disbursements, and active contribution to collateral management by third party
Under the 2010 grant program, the ACA trained bankers in the commercial potential of cashew processing financing, and identified key targets among cashew processors for technical assistance. This resulted in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID) in December 2010 to make available more than US$14 million for investments in cashew processing in West Africa. Under the 2011 Trade Hub grant program, the ACA in cooperation with the USAID West Africa Trade Hub supported cashew processors to improve the efficiency and bankability of their operations and prepare bankable loan applications.
In 2011, three cashew processors in Nigeria secured a total of $1.3 million in loans for working capital and trade finance thanks to the joint collaboration of West Africa Trade Hub finance experts with the ACA business team.
In 2012, ACA clients targeted US$2 million in working capital and crop financing and $1.5 in new investments and expansions financing through ACA technical support. As a result of these successes, ACA has received requests for technical assistance from several new investors aiming to set up cashew processing in Africa.