The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a US $310 million trade finance loan for Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), parent company of the Ecobank Group, the AfDB said in a statement yesterday.
Through this facility, the AfDB said it will provide critical trade finance funding to support economies in which Ecobank is present.
The intervention comes at a time of falling commodity prices which have caused shortages in foreign exchange supply and led to unmet demand for trade finance instruments to support ongoing structural changes in the respective economies in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“Through the Ecobank branch network across Sub-Saharan Africa, the project will mainly support small and medium enterprises and local companies involved in import export activity,” the statement said.
According to the AfDB, the project will help address critical market demand for trade finance and dollar liquidity by supporting vital economic sectors such as agri-business, chemicals, construction, engineering, food processing, manufacturing and non-traditional exports.
Additionally, it would foster financial sector development, provide a platform to support intra-Africa and regional trade and support financing of medium term infrastructure projects, creating robust industries and employment opportunities for youth.
It would also enhance support to local enterprises in Sub-Saharan Africa, whose trading activities are being constrained by shortages in dollar funding.
“When fully utilised, including roll-overs, the interventions are expected to facilitate approximately US $2 billion of trade over a three and a half-year period,” the AfDB said.
The facility, according to the statement, will contribute to the attainment of AfDB’s five operational priorities – its ‘High 5s’ namely: Light up and power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialise Africa, Integrate Africa and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.
The project also aligns with AfDB’s Ten Year Strategy, particularly the bank’s Financial Sector Development Strategy, which seeks to increase access to financial services for the underserved and broaden and deepen Africa’s financial systems.
It also aligns with the AfDB’s Private Sector Strategy by contributing to the improvement of the investment and business environment in Sub-Saharan Africa, subsequently promoting regional trade. It will also promote enterprise development through increased access to appropriate levels of trade finance for small and medium enterprises and local corporates.
Ecobank Transnational Incorporated is registered and headquartered in Lomé, Togo, as a pan-African bank holding company. It has presence in 36 African countries, and has representative offices in Beijing, Dubai, Paris and London.
ETI’s shares are listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange, the Nigeria Stock Exchange and the Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières (BRVM) serving countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA).
By Times Reporter