(The Southern African Times) – THE AfreximBank and the European Investment Bank (EIB) have availed US$355 million to support the resilience and recovery of business in African countries in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Africa like the rest of the world is grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic which was first detected in China last December before spreading to the rest of the world killing more than 700 000 people to date.
In a joint statement, AfreximBank and EIB said the funds will ensure businesses across the continent have the working capital to sustain jobs and maintain vital imports.
“It also earmarks at least a quarter of the capital for climate change mitigation and adaptation, helping Africa maximise the opportunities of a green recovery.
“The support package is the first accelerated Covid-19 response for the entire sub-Saharan region under the EIB’s Team Europe initiative — a EUR 6,7bn package to help the most vulnerable and exposed countries respond to the immediate health crisis, mitigate social and economic impacts, and build resilience for the future,” reads part of the statement.
The support for sub-Saharan Africa delivered with AfreximBank is structured in two parts.
“The package redeploys EUR 200 million of funds previously allocated to trade-related investments, directing them specifically to sectors most impacted by the pandemic.
“Recognising the pressing need for support, AfreximBank and the EIB are also injecting a further EUR 100 million to the package. This combination of existing and new funds, in addition to AfreximBank’s position on the ground, means support can be activated immediately — a degree of agility that would not have been possible under a new agreement.
“Furthermore, AfreximBank’s deep knowledge and broad presence across African markets will ensure capital reaches businesses and communities in all areas of the continent,” it said.
AfreximBank president Professor Benedict Oramah was quoted saying as continental neighbours, Europe and Africa must stand together against the global contagion.
He said the funding was welcome not only because it answers an urgent need, but on account that it is deployed with urgency.
“With the joint experience of AfreximBank and the EIB, the support will rapidly reach those most affected and be carefully designed to have the greatest effect on the post-pandemic recovery. What’s more, the package’s support for green projects will help propel Africa towards the sustainable economy of the future and all the opportunities that entails.
“I am confident that our work together will not only have a positive impact on African nations but will help us on the path to a closer relationship, based on shared prosperity, values and a commitment to a sustainable future,” he said.
EIB vice president Mr Ambroise Fayolle was also quoted as saying his organisation was strengthening close cooperation with AfreximBank to unlock high-impact investment by companies across Africa.
“A total amount of EUR 300 million has been made available as a direct result of the EIB’s fast-track support and global response as part of Team Europe.
“Reflecting the scale of the global impact of Covid-19, the EIB Board has agreed to scale up financing with existing partners to rapidly deliver an immediate response.
“Together with AfreximBank this new financing will both unlock medical investment and ensure that climate action investment to cut energy use and emissions is not delayed,” he said.