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The Africa Export-Import Bank (AFREXIM BANK), which celebrated its 20th anniversary this week, announced that it is going to finance Allana Potash projects in Ethiopia.
The bank was established by African governments, private and institutional investors, and non-African investors in 1993 to finance and promote trade in Africa. AFREXIM BANK hasn’t financed large investments in Ethiopia during past years. According to the bank’s officials, present at the celebration and other side events held at the United Nations Conference Centre, the bank is in the process of approving USD 600 million for one of the mining companies investing in Ethiopia. The amount is close to one sixth of the total finance that the bank approved in 2012 for projects in Africa.
AFREXIM BANK approved a USD 3.71 billion credit line in the past year. Even though the officials declined to disclose which company will receive the credit, sources indicated that the Toronto-based firm, Allana Potash, is the company that will secure the loan for its potash project in the Danakil area, Afar Regional State. The officials said that the undertaking is early, but they are very positive about its outcome.
According to these sources, the company has approached the bank to obtain a loan for its investment in the country.
This amount would be the first huge loan that will be allocated for projects based in Ethiopia by the bank. Allana is planning to develop the mineral Potash to be used to produce a type of fertiliser.
Meanwhile, the Canadian company has done various studies that will enable it to commence mining operations. For instance, last month it received approval for its environmental, social and health impact assessment from the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and Ministry of Mines (MoM). The approval is a milestone in the granting of a mining license for the project and to receive funding from international financiers.
According to Allana, the mineral resources are estimated to be around 1.3 billion tonnes.
Other international companies, like the Norwegian based Yara International, have also invested in the region to develop potash. At a press conference convened on Wednesday as part of the 20th Annual General Meeting of the bank, the bank stated that it was keen on financing electric projects in East Africa.
Jean-Louis Ekra, President of AFREXIM BANK said that his bank is very keen on financing projects in East Africa, especially power projects, to be at the forefront of growth in the region. The president also stated that agribusiness is AFREXIM BANK’s primary focus, because of its supply chains development for raising production efficiency and enhancing competitiveness for industries in global production.
The 10th Annual General Meeting of the bank was held from Wednesday June 19 to Saturday June 22. At the opening ceremony of the meeting, Ekra said Africa will benefit from its abundant natural resources only through processing, and eventually joining, the global value chain.
Sufian Ahmed, Minister of Finance and Development (MoFED) of Ethiopia, in his welcoming remarks stressed the important role of AFREXIM BANK in financing African trade and promoting integration within the African continent.