Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
THE African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is spending over $15 billion annually to African businesses to support trade on the continent, the bank’s president Benedict Oramah, has said.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Africa Forum 2016 held in Egypt recently, the Afrexim president said an amount of $7 billion will be provided directly by the financier and additional financing which it attracted into the continent through its syndication transactions.
The bank has also received additional requests totaling more than $700 million for financing under the programme.
“Afreximbank puts annual financing to African businesses at $15 billion,” said Oramah.
The bank has also indicated plans to advance about $100 million working capital to Zimbabwean companies by midyear in order to facilitate distressed industries stimulate production.
It is believed that the resources would be availed under the second phase of the Zimbabwe Economic Trade Revival Facility (Zetref), which is meant to provide cheap financing to industries and help drive capacity utilisation.
Zetref II will be a successor to the $70 million released by Afrexim Bank in 2011 to help revive productive sectors of the economy.
Outside Zimbabwe, Oramah said the bank was also working with several Egyptian manufacturers exporting to other African countries by providing them with necessary support to put them at near equal footing with other global players in those markets.
“Afrexim’s support to Egypt also included a $500 million facility which it agreed with the Central Bank of Egypt a few days earlier to help Egyptian importers alleviate temporary foreign currency availability constraints to the importation of strategic and key industrial products,” he said.
He said Afreximbank was now focusing more on intra-regional trade and investment in addition to promoting value addition in the products that Africa produces.
Through the government’s economicblue-print, Zim-asset, Zimbabwe also recognises value addition and beneficiation as key tenets towards economic recovery and growth as well as socio-economic transformation.