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AfDB Seals $50m Deal With Natixis To Boost Trade In Africa

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a $50 million Risk Participation Agreement (RPA) for Natixis, a French Bank to strengthen the development of trade in Africa.

Natixis is the international corporate, investment, asset management, insurance and financial services bank of Groupe BPCE, the second largest banking group in France. It has business expertise in four areas which include, asset and wealth management, key accounts, insurance and specialized financial services.

The organization also supports its own corporate clients, financial institutions and institutional investors, as well as the individual, professional and Small and Medium-size Enterprise (SME) clients of Groupe BPCE, throughout the world.

Currently, the volume of African exports of goods and services represents only 3 percent of world trade. The agreement will enable Natixis to support African banks and their SME clients to undertake more regional and international trade.

The agreement is expected to help achieve a cumulative trade volume of $430 million over the next three years.

Notably, it is intended to meet the growing demand from African markets for trade finance in vital economic sectors ­such as agribusiness, energy, manufacturing, health, and services. It will also help diversify production, creating jobs and additional tax revenues for several African countries.

Specifically, this agreement will support African commercial banks and SMEs by ensuring stable access to trade finance, an important driver of economic growth and regional integration.

The agreement comes at a time when the majority of African banks are poorly capitalized, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has impacted their ability to access lines of credit with international banks.

Consequently, this difficulty has been exacerbated by the tightening of regulatory standards for capital and compliance, which has led international banks to reduce their commitments and the number of their correspondent banks in Africa.

Director General of the African Development Bank for North Africa, Mohamed El Azizi said with this new operation, the bank is strengthening the trusting relationship between the various players in the African banking system in order to accelerate the development of trade.

“This is another step towards the realization of the African Continental Free Trade Area which will unleash the full growth potential of the continent and create new opportunities and jobs”, he said.

Similarly, the Director of the AfDB’s Financial Sector Development Department, Stefan Nalletamby noted that new operation, the second of its kind with Natixis, and with broader geographic coverage, will help catalyze greater intra-African trade flows over the next three years.

“The ambition is to help more local banks and their SME clients to expand into new African countries, particularly those with low incomes. The aim is to facilitate their access to financing and help them unleash their potential. This is in the service of greater regional integration”, he stressed.
Interestingly, the agreement aligns with the AfDB’s High 5 strategic priorities.

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