IFC, BIC-BRED (Suisse) SA and Agro Companies International SA partner to boost grain imports in West and Central Africa
18-10-2022 09:18:14 | by: Bob Koigi | hits: 6579 | Tags:

To boost food security in West and Central Africa amid a growing global food crisis, IFC, BIC-BRED (Suisse) SA and Agro Companies International SA today announced a partnership to help finance the import of grain into Côte d'Ivoire, Cameroon, Ghana and other African countries.

Under the partnership, IFC will invest $20 million - through a risk participation agreement - in a $60 million trade finance facility arranged by commodity trade finance bank BIC-BRED (Suisse) SA for Swiss commodity trading group Agro Companies International SA. The facility will help Agro Companies International SA purchase wheat, corn and animal feed from international suppliers and distribute these products to West and Central African buyers, mainly local milling companies.

Africa is highly dependent on imported wheat and other grains, with 44 percent of the continent's wheat coming from Russia and Ukraine in 2020. Fallout from the war in Ukraine and associated wheat supply chain disruptions, have highlighted the urgent need for grain trade financing to ensure food security in Africa.

"Strengthening food security in Africa is urgent at this critical time when inflation and market turbulence are hampering trade and imports," said Aliou Maiga, IFC's Regional Industry Director for the Financial Institutions Group in Africa. "Supporting firms like Agro Companies International SA is part of IFC's strategy to fill the trade finance gap and help limit disruptions in the food commodity supply chain."

"In the current context of rising inflation, this financing support from IFC is instrumental to sustain the milling wheat and animal feed supply chains of our clients in West and Central Africa," said Erwan Boubet, CEO of Agro Companies International SA.

"This partnership with IFC enables BIC-BRED (Suisse) SA to increase its existing trade finance facility granted to Agro Companies International SA at a time when the need for more financial support hasbecome crucial for Africa." said François Monnier, Deputy General Manager of BIC-BRED (Suisse) SA.

In the past two years, IFC has grown the size of its short-term trade facilities to the commodities sector in emerging markets by 50 percent thanks to mobilization and partnerships with commercial banks.

Responding to surging levels of food insecurity, on October 3, IFC launched a new $6 billion global food security platform to strengthen the private sector's ability to respond to the crisis and help support food production.