Treasury engaging Pan African bank Afrexim for possible support

Cairo-based African Import and Export Bank (Afreximbank). [iStockphoto]

The National Treasury is engaging the pan-African lender African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) for possible financial support.

A high-level team from the bank held talks with Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’un recently.

“The objective of the mission is to undertake a needs assessment of the Kenyan economy, fill information gaps and further discuss various proposed projects to be approved under the Kenya country programme,” said Prof Ndung’u.

Among those who held talks with Prof Ndung’u include the regional chief operating officer – East Africa, Kudakwashe Matereke.

Kenya earlier in December inked a $3 billion (Sh363billion) financing framework deal from Afreximbank. 

A technical team drawn from the Kenyan government and Afeximbank was  expected to begin working on the structure of the support, said the bank earlier.

Part of any planned lending will go towards backing Kenya's dams construction and industrial hubs, said the bank.

This was announced during a meeting between President William Ruto and Afrexim President Benedict Oramah in December.

During the meeting held at State House Nairobi, Prof Oramah said the Bank was keen to roll out this package of financing as part of its efforts to support Kenya as it navigates the current unprecedented global economic challenges.

“We had a very good meeting with His Excellency President Ruto and agreed that we needed to reset the relationship between Afeximbank and Kenya," said Prof Oramah.

“This will allow us to expand our engagement with Afreximbank on several investment areas such as infrastructure, agriculture, commercial irrigation, housing, the creative industry and the MSME ecosystem,” said Ruto.

Under the deal, Afreximbank said it will put in place $800 million (Sh96.8 billion) financing towards building 100 dams towards doubling irrigated area in Kenya, while paying attention to regions experiencing water shortages as a result of the impact of climare change, added the bank.

"We are proud to be using Kenya to launch the Afreximbank Climate Change Adaptation Facility under which we plan to disburse over $5 billion (Sh605 billion) in the 5 years to 2026 under Afreximbank's 6th Strategic Plan" Prof Oramah said.

 

Under this scheme, Kenya plans to double land area under irrigation from the current 670,000 acres to 1.4 million acres in the next three years. This is aimed at improving the country’s food production, while reducing its over reliance on rain-fed agriculture.

"We stand ready to kick-start this exciting programme with the Government of Kenya and promote climate smart agriculture in Kenya. Our Project Preparation and technical teams will work with the Kenya government team on this project to develop a robust model and structure that will attract investors," said Prof Oramah.

The bank said the country programme will also encompass support for development and operation of industrial parks in Kenya.

This is geared particularly to help in enhancing Kenya’s manufacturing and value-addition sectors.

As a result, it will provide a major boost to intra-Africa trade under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), said the regional lender.

At the same time the Bank has also extended the ATEX pan-African pooled procurement platform for commodities to Kenya.

“Afreximbank will put in place a facility that enables timely and sustainable supply of basic commodities such as fuel, fertilizer, grains and edible oils. We also want to reorientate supply chains towards intra-African procurement,’ said Prof Oramah.

"For example, Africa produces more fertilizer than it uses and some of this gets exported, while some African countries import the same,’’ he added.

The Bank says it will also support youth empowerment through its CANEX platform for the creative sector. This will support young talented Africans who are traditionally shunned by the financial services sector due to the traditional lending models.

During the meeting Prof Oramah and Dr Ruto also discussed the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS).

They agreed that PAPSS was important in aiding region trading within the continent, through the use local currencies.

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