|Emblem of the African Union (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) (http://www.afdb.org) approved on Tuesday, May 22, a USD 100 million unfunded Risk Participation Agreement (RPA) between the AfDB and Commerzbank AG under which the two banks will share the default risk on a portfolio of qualifying trade transactions originated by issuing banks in Africa and confirmed by Commerzbank AG. This facility will help address critical market demand for trade finance in Africa by providing support for trade in vital economic sectors such as agribusiness and manufacturing. It will foster financial sector development, regional integration, and increase government revenue generation ultimately improving Africa’s sustainable economic growth.
The majority of African banks have small capital bases which constrain their ability to obtain adequate trade limits from international confirming banks and to undertake sizeable transactions that have significant development impact. Moreover, despite the growth in trade risk distribution globally, local banks in Africa have not significantly benefitted from this growth. AfDB’s additionality lies in the use of its “AAA” rating to share trade risk and expand the trade finance capacity of banks in Africa, thereby expanding trade and strengthening regional integration.
This RPA facility, running over a 3-year period, is 50/50 risk sharing arrangement that will enable Commerzbank AG to match AfDB’s undertaking in every transaction, thereby creating a maximum portfolio of up to USD 200 million. The facility will also result in the provision of significant support to African banks and SMEs. Counting roll-overs, it is expected to facilitate about USD 1.2 billion of trade in equipment, raw materials, intermediate and finished goods over the 3-year period.
Moreover, the proposed facility aligns with AfDB’s Regional Member Countries’ priorities to promote trade as was reaffirmed by the African Union at its 18th Ordinary Session in January 2012. It is also in line with the Bank’s Ten-year Strategy and Regional Integration Strategies which seek to consolidate its engagement in trade finance in Africa.