Afreximbank secures US$80 million for Zimbabwe’s CBZ Bank

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Writes Baboloki Semele
At the recently concluded Afreximbank Annual Meetings, African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) signed two significant deals with Zimbabwe’s largest bank, CBZ Bank Limited. These agreements include a US$60 million line of credit and a US$20 million Afreximbank Trade Facilitation Programme (AFTRAF) facility, totalling US$80 million.
The US$60 million line of credit is designed to bolster CBZ Bank’s ability to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This facility aims to enhance the capacity of financial intermediaries to provide essential financing products and capacity-building initiatives. By indirectly supporting export-oriented businesses in Zimbabwe, this credit line will help generate much-needed foreign exchange, alleviating the country’s foreign currency pressure.
The US$20 million AFTRAF facility is set to empower CBZ Bank to issue letters of credit confirmed by Afreximbank. This comes at a crucial time when such financial instruments are scarce due to a shortage of confirming banks. The AFTRAF programme will facilitate intra- and extra-African trade for Zimbabwe, enabling the importation of critical goods such as fuel, pharmaceuticals, and fertilizers, and supporting the export and import of vital goods and services within Africa.
Additionally, this facility will allow CBZ to expand its trade activities and correspondent banking relationships. Highlighting the impact of these deals, Haytham El Maayergi, Executive Vice President of Global Trade Bank at Afreximbank, stated, “The US$60 million Line of Credit facility will enable CBZ Bank to provide financing to local corporates and SMEs, bridging the financing gap at a time when most international banks are limiting their exposure to Zimbabwean banks.”
He added that the AFTRAF programme would increase trade and economic activity by supporting the import and export of crucial goods, thus enhancing the country’s foreign exchange earnings and productivity. CBZ Group has a strategic plan focused on deploying affordable mobile banking solutions, increasing its product offerings, and driving financial inclusion in Zimbabwe.
The bank aims to create opportunities for direct and indirect employment by financing the importation of raw materials for key industries. Additionally, sub-borrowers, particularly SMEs, benefitting from the credit line will be eligible for non-financial support under the capacity-building pillar of the bank’s Export SME Development Programme.
Mrs Smangele Mandidi, Acting Managing Director of CBZ Bank, expressed her optimism about the new funding: “Our core focus remains on sourcing much-needed lines of credit to support the productive sectors of our economy. This US$80 million funding from Afreximbank will support export growth through trade finance as well as capital expenditure financing, easing the liquidity challenges we face.”
These deals align with Afreximbank’s mandate to support the export of value-added commodities and manufactured goods of Member States. By providing these facilities, Afreximbank continues to uphold its strategic pillars of trade finance leadership and enhance Africa’s trade structure.
This support not only boosts the foreign exchange earning capacity of Zimbabwe but also contributes significantly to the country’s economic expansion and industrialization.
Hosted by the Government of The Bahamas, AAM2024, combined with the third AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF2024), took place from 12 June to 15 June, marking another milestone in Afreximbank’s ongoing efforts to promote intra- and extra-African trade.
African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is a Pan-African multilateral financial institution dedicated to financing, facilitating, and promoting intra- and extra-African trade.
For over 30 years, Afreximbank has deployed innovative instruments to deliver financing solutions that support the transformation of Africa’s trade structure, accelerating industrialization and boosting economic expansion. Afreximbank, a staunch supporter of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), has launched the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) in partnership with the African Union Commission and AfCFTA Secretariat.
This system, adopted by the African Union, underpins the implementation of the Free Trade Agreement. Additionally, Afreximbank and the AfCFTA Secretariat have created a USD 10 billion Adjustment Fund to support countries participating in AfCFTA effectively. As of December 2023, Afreximbank’s total assets and guarantees exceeded US$37.3 billion, with shareholder funds amounting to US$6.1 billion.
The bank maintains investment-grade ratings from GCR, Moody’s, Japan Credit Rating Agency (JCR), and Fitch. Afreximbank has evolved into a group entity comprising the Bank, its impact fund subsidiary, the Fund for Export Development Africa (FEDA), and its insurance management subsidiary, AfrexInsure. The Bank is headquartered in Cairo, Egypt.