Uche Usim, Abuja
The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) on Friday announced the disbursement of $200 million to Zenith Bank Plc Nigeria to enable it maintain foreign currency trade flows impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The money is captured under Afreximbank’s Pandemic Trade Impact Mitigation Facility (PATIMFA).
According to the regional bank, the fund will also allow Zenith Bank to on-lend to eligible sub-borrowers involved in the manufacture and supply of medical resources needed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking on the facility, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive of Zenith Bank, Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu said: “The Afreximbank facility undoubtedly underscores the confidence reposed in Zenith Bank, and it will enable the bank to contribute to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic by providing trade finance and foreign currency funding for the importation of urgent medical equipment and raw materials.”
Zenith Bank Plc is Nigeria’s largest bank by Tier-1 capital. The bank serves more than 9 million corporate and individual clients through its network of over 500 branches across Nigeria and its subsidiaries in the Gambia, Ghana, Sierra Leone and the United Kingdom. It also has a representative office in Beijing China, and Dubai (UAE) a branch of Zenith Bank UK.
In his remarks, Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank, said: “The Pandemic Trade Impact Mitigation Facility (PATIMFA) is designed to support and stabilize the foreign exchange resources of African countries, enabling them to support critical imports under emergency conditions. We are pleased to contribute to keeping economies going especially during this pandemic. The role that banks such as Zenith Bank play in Africa is huge. Supporting them to carry out their mandate is our greatest contribution to making sure that African countries and institutions build back better from the shocks of the pandemic.”
PATIMFA was set up in March 2020 to provide financing to assist Afreximbank member countries to adjust in an orderly manner to the financial, economic and health services shocks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This 3-year medium-term facility has been availed through direct funding. Afreximbank has already disbursed more than US$3.5 billion under PATIMFA. In addition, the Bank provided a grant of US$3 million towards the COVID-19 Special Fund set up by the African Union as well as to the African Center for Disease Control and other agencies.
Afreximbank has a history of providing support to African economies in times of economic crisis. During the 2015 economic crisis, it introduced a Counter-Cyclical Trade Liquidity Facility under which it disbursed more than $10 billion on a revolving basis to enable member countries to adjust to the adverse economic shocks. That facility helped key African economies to manage that crisis and recover swiftly.