Afreximbank President Benedict Oramah. PHOTO: Afreximbank website
JOHANNESBURG – Multilateral trade finance institution African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has approved a US$400 million revolving global credit facility agreement for the Export Trading Group (ETG) to drive agricultural productivity on the continent, it said on Wednesday.
In a statement, Afreximbank said the agreement would enable ETG, one of the largest and fastest-growing integrated agricultural conglomerates in Africa, to continue playing the key role of efficiently connecting farmers to markets, as well as expanding access to key inputs to boost productivity.
Afreximbank estimates that the continent spent over $90 billion on food imports in 2019, even though it possesses up to 60 percent of the world’s remaining arable land.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation, up to 50 percent of the continent’s agricultural production is lost every year from farm-to-market due to sub-optimal use of inputs as well as improper post-harvest storage, processing and transportation facilities, among other shortcomings.
The Covid-19 pandemic has also disrupted supply chains, heightened price volatility and could further undermine household consumption.
The Afreximbank facility will address key bottlenecks faced by African agricultural exporters, aggregating large values of produce in order to give small and medium-scale enterprises access to regional and international markets.
“Afreximbank remains committed to supporting African nations navigate the Covid-19 pandemic; at the same time, we remain focused on boosting agricultural productivity and accelerating the diversification of exports to strengthen the resilience of African economies,” said Kanayo Awani, managing director of Afreximbank’s intra-African trade initiative.
The facility will also help ETG connect the continent’s small and medium businesses to the agricultural networks and avenues critical for growth.
“With the African Continental Free Trade Agreement on the horizon, the timing is opportune to shape a more productive and resilient agricultural sector—delivering both prosperity and food security for the continent’s future,” Awani said.
Afreximbank, which is headquartered in the Egyptian capital Cairo, was established in October 1993 and is owned by African governments, the African Development Bank and other African multilateral financial institutions as well as African and non-African public and private investors.
Voted ‘African Bank of the Year’ in 2019, it disbursed more than US$31 billion between 2016 and last year.
– African News Agency (ANA)