Unlocking Carbon Finance in Ghana

Lessons learned from incubating a regenerative cocoa business model in Ghana that helped unlock performance-based payments for carbon emission reductions in Ghana’s High Forest Zone.

In July 2019, Ghana became the third country in Africa to sign an Emission Reductions Payment Agreement (ERPA) with the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility Carbon Fund, administered by the World Bank. The agreement unlocks performance-based payments of up to $50 million for carbon emission reductions in Ghana’s High Forest Zones. Ghana has since been successful in fulfilling all Conditions of Effectiveness under the ERPA – becoming the first country in Africa to do so – and can now sell its carbon to the World Bank, under the Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Programme.

This practice paper analyses how a private sector-led partnership, supported by Partnerships for Forests, helped fast-track Ghana’s success in meeting the ERPA conditions to unlock an advance carbon payment. It further explores how the partnership supported the private company to green its supply chain and adopt a regenerative cocoa business model. The paper concludes with recommendations and lessons for governments who are yet to develop their emission reduction programmes, with an emphasis on leveraging private sector investment.