Cameroon's cotton industry has received another boost thanks to EUR100m (US$118m) in financing that will be used to buy raw cotton from farmers and process this into cotton fibre for export.

The investment into the Central African country has been pledged by the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), a member of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group.

It will be overseen by Sodecoton (Société de Développement du Coton), a state enterprise created in 1974 to organise the production and marketing of cotton throughout the country. It operates several production sites throughout Cameroon.

Cotton is one of the country's main exports, and an important revenue generating vehicle for the country. The financing will enable cotton growers to intensify production, in turn helping to support other small businesses linked to the cotton sector.

"This financing is directly providing means of livelihood to over 300,000 farmers and indirectly to over 3 million people in the North and Far-North regions of Cameroon by enabling the government to provide the needed agricultural inputs to the farmers and ensure timely payment of cotton harvests of the farmers," said HE Louis Paul Motaze, Minister of Economy, Planning and Regional Development.

Cameroon is one of the main oil-producing countries in Africa, and ITFC is contributing to the government's policy of diversifying the economy through the promotion of agriculture.

The ITFC offers Shari'ah-compliant trade finance to businesses and governments in its member countries.

Earlier this year the International Finance Corporation (IFC) also pledged a EUR15.5m (US$16.5m) investment to support the production of cotton in Cameroon, as part of a EUR31m one-year pre-export facility provided by the bank to Sodecoton.

Cameroon cotton industry receives $16.5m boost