The Nigeria Export-Import, NEXIM Bank has launched a digital hub, ‘Cocoa Connect Africa’ in its bid to boost cocoa production in the country.
This was disclosed by the Managing Director, of NEXIM Bank, Abubakar Bello, on Thursday, while speaking on the sidelines of the International Cocoa and Chocolate Forum tagged, ‘Putting values in cocoa in producing regions,’ in Lagos State.
Bello explained that the move is to bring every activity of all stakeholders in the cocoa industry under one platform.
The MD also noted that the digital infrastructure was significant as it would help ease the stress of trade, adding that stakeholders of various commodities would be put under the digital platform.
Bello stated, “It is about somebody who has products and meeting someone who is interested in the product. It is about connection and market information. We are putting all the stakeholders on the value chain for different commodities, but the one we launched today is for cocoa and we are also doing the same for cashews.
“We are also doing so for Shea. The idea is to have a cluster because today everything is done digitally, why should our trade be lagging behind? We must create a platform for every stakeholder to log in to purchase what they want digitally from their comfort zones.”
He added that the digital platform aims to boost trade facilitation and set standards for traceability.
“The platform can be used to educate farmers, it can be used to educate regulators and pass the information on the latest developments. We must create an awareness for farmers on the latest trends, there is also a need for effective regulation in the value chain,”
The NEXIM MD stated that the vision of the digital hub is to unlock the boundless potential of Cocoa in Africa.
“At Cocoa Connect Africa, we offer more than just a platform; we provide an immersive experience tailored to elevate your journey in the cocoa industry,” he noted.
In her address, the bank’s Executive Director, of Business Development, Stella Okotete, said NEXIM Bank has supported Cocoa exporters with over N100 billion in the past seven years with all facilities performing and creating jobs for over 7,000 direct and 70,000 indirect jobs for Nigeria.
She added that amongst others, NEXIM created a Small and Medium Exporters Facility to support exporters, stressing that NEXIM has been supporting suppliers by growing their capacities.
She added that with the recent spike in the price of cocoa, the bank has opened up its refinancing windows to support exporters with single-digit loans.
“We are sure that the cocoa exporters will take advantage of the opportunity because it will help them to reduce the burden of the double-digit interest rate. We are ensuring that we will continue to do more,” she averred.
Participants at the event were the Oloni of Eti-Oni, Osun State, who is also the Founder, of International Cocoa Diplomacy, Dokun Gureje, and representatives of Lagos and Osun State Governors, amongst others.