By Tanko Mohammed
The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has disbursed $3.55 billion to the Egyptian Banking sector under its Pandemic Trade Impact Mitigation Facility (PATIMFA) since the outbreak of the COVID-19 in March.
Afreximbank disclosed this in a statement issued by its Spokesman, Amadou Sall in Abuja.
Sall said that in a bid to strengthen long-term economic prosperity in the region, the bank also provided $300 million to the National Bank of Egypt to support activities aimed at expanding intra-African trade.
“ The 3.55bn support has been provided to the Central Bank of Egypt and other Egyptian Banks through Afreximbank’s Pandemic Trade Impact Mitigation Facility (PATIMFA).
“ PATIMFA is designed to assist Afreximbank member countries in managing the adverse impact of financial, economic and health shocks caused by epidemics or pandemics.
“In the nature of COVID-19 by doing so, it helps preserve and promote economic stability through the period of global uncertainty,” Sall said.
He said that the funds would ensure trade debt payments that fell due were honoured as well support the stabilisation of foreign exchange resources in order to preserve the flow of critical imports.
Sall said that the supports would bolster the liquidity of the Central Bank and local Egyptian lenders during the crisis, while ensuring that vital trade in items such as food and medical supplies continued.
“ The support provided to the National Bank of Egypt reflects Afreximbank’s continued commitment to promoting regional integration and intra-African trade, an area of development it deems vital both to the continent’s recovery from the pandemic and its long-term economic resilience.
“ The funds will support the National Bank of Egypt’s operational expansion through investment and trade in Africa, It will also strengthen its Egypt-Africa Trade business which aims to increase its support for regional trade from $85m in 2020 to $125m in 2022,” he said.
Sall added that the Africa’s foremost multilateral trade finance institution had also provided a $250,000 grant to support the Egyptian government’s COVID-19 relief efforts.
The statement quoted Prof. Benedict Oramah, the President of Afreximbank, as saying that the sharp change in the economic outlook, banks in most countries, including Egypt, needed to brace themselves for widespread economic disruption and a recession.
Oramah said that the support they were providing to the banking system in Egypt would ensure trade continued and defaults were averted, bolstering the economic foundations needed to preserve public health and promote a strong recovery.
“ As we rightly focus on stability in the present, we must also look to build a more prosperous and resilient future.”
Oramah said that Egypt had been a regional banking powerhouse for more than a century and would play a vital role in expanding intra-Africa trade as the continent recovers from the pandemic and reaps the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
He said that the National Bank of Egypt’s balance sheet was among the top three strongest in Africa adding that “we are confident its expansion would prove an effective multiplier for trade across the continent.”