Africa, China banks sign $1bn deal
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