The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), Africa’s foremost multilateral trade finance institution, has granted $3.55bn to Egypt’s banking sector since the start of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in March.
Afreximbank elaborated that the $3.55bn support has been provided to the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) and other Egyptian banks through its Pandemic Trade Impact Mitigation Facility (PATIMFA).
The funds support the stabilisation of foreign exchange resources to preserve the flow of critical imports. They will also bolster the liquidity at the CBE and local lenders during the crisis, while ensuring vital trade in items such as food and medical supplies continues.
Afreximbank has also provided a $250,000 grant to support the Egyptian government’s relief efforts in dealing with the pandemic.
The Afreximbank has also provided $300m to the National Bank of Egypt (NBE), in support of its activities aimed at expanding intra-African trade.
The funds will go to support the NBE’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.
Afreximbank President Benedict Oramah said, “Faced with a sharp change in the economic outlook, banks in most countries, including Egypt, need to brace themselves for widespread economic disruption and a recession. The support we are providing to the banking system in Egypt will ensure trade continues and defaults are averted, bolstering the economic foundations needed to preserve public health and promote a strong recovery.”
Oramah added that Egypt has been a regional banking powerhouse for more than a century and will play a vital role in expanding intra-Africa trade. This will be particularly important as the continent recovers from the pandemic and reaps the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
He further noted that the NBE’s balance sheet is among the top three strongest in Africa, and emphasised Afreximbank’s confidence that its expansion will prove an effective multiplier for trade across the continent.