Africa, China banks sign $1bn deal

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business Chronicle - Oliver Kazunga

THE African Ex­port-Im­port Bank (Afrex­im­bank) and the Ex­port-Im­port Bank of China have signed a co-op­er­a­tion agree­ment to cre­ate a $1 bil­lion Chi­naAfrica In­vest­ment and In­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion Pro­gramme to fa­cil­i­tate the cre­ation of spe­cial eco­nomic zones on the con­ti­nent.

Afrex­im­bank pres­i­dent Dr Bene­dict Oramah and his Ex­port-Im­port Bank of China coun­ter­part Mr Lui Liang signed the co-op­er­a­tion agree­ment dur­ing Afrex­im­bank’s share­hold­ers 23rd an­nual gen­eral meet­ing in the Sey­chelles last week.

In a state­ment, Afrex­im­bank said the co­op­er­a­tion agree­ment will see the two par­ties work­ing to­gether to pro­vide Africa with ca­pac­ity for light man­u­fac­tur­ing and pri­mary pro­cess­ing of raw materials and com­modi­ties.

“It would also cover lo­gis­tics that fa­cil­i­tate in­trare­gional trade, such as ship­ping equip­ment, rail­ways and rolling stock, and trade fa­cil­i­tat­ing in­fra­struc­ture, such as power. “Other as­pects of the agree­ment in­clude im­prove­ment in trade fi­nance flows into Africa, through risk par­tic­i­pa­tion ar­range­ments, cross-re­fer­ral of busi­ness con­tacts, and in­di­rect fund­ing of Ex­portIm­port Bank of China — through Afrex­im­bank, as well as en­gage­ment in joint ca­pac­ity build­ing ini­tia­tives, in­clud­ing staff and in­for­ma­tion ex­change,” said the fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion.

Afrex­im­bank said com­ple­ment­ing the pro­gramme would be an en­gage­ment with the Made in Africa Ini­tia­tive un­der, which the bank will de­velop and op­er­ate in­dus­trial and agro-pro­cess­ing parks to in­crease value ad­di­tion on the con­ti­nent.

This is in line with Zim­babwe’s, eco­nomic-blue­print, Zim-As­set, which among other ob­jec­tives is premised on pro­mot­ing value ad­di­tion and ben­e­fi­ci­a­tion ac­cel­er­ate eco­nomic re­cov­ery in the coun­try.

In an in­ter­view, the Per­ma­nent sec­re­tary in the Min­istry of Macro-eco­nomic Plan­ning and In­vest­ment Pro­mo­tion, Dr De­sire Sibanda, said the Gov­ern­ment was work­ing on cre­at­ing Spe­cial Eco­nomic Zones to pro­mote eco­nomic re­cov­ery through eq­uity fi­nance.

The SEZs Bill was gazette to­wards the end of last year and has so far gone through the first and sec­ond read­ing in Par­lia­ment

“We are work­ing on set­ting up SEZs and as a coun­try, we will get tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance from China on the back of the Look East Pol­icy that we adopted. It is not nec­es­sar­ily that we all get the $1 bil­lion you’re re­fer­ring to,” he said.

Later this month, he would be lead­ing a del­e­ga­tion to China to dis­cuss on SEZ con­cept in Zim­babwe.

“Af­ter the visit, on the 23rd of Au­gust, a Ja­panese pro­fes­sor is ex­pected to ad­dress busi­ness­peo­ple in Bu­l­awayo on the SEZ con­cept and a sim­i­lar meet­ing would also be held here (Harare) on the 25th of Au­gust.

“It is not that through the SEZ we’ll get fund­ing but eco­nomic re­cov­ery is ex­pected to come through eq­uity fi­nance where busi­ness-to-busi­ness joint ven­tures will be set up,” he said. — @okazunga

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