KENYA – Pan-African multilateral trade finance institution The African Import and Export Bank (Afreximbank), plans to pump money into Kenyan firms in various sectors as the lender eyes an increased role in the Kenyan economy.

Afreximbank, which finances and promotes African trade, says it will work with both government and private sector to bankroll various projects in need of funding.

“We are looking at providing support in different areas,” said Afrexim director and global head of client relations Rene Awambeng.

Afreximbank has in the past decade financed several local big-ticket deals, including debt to national carrier Kenya Airways.

The regional lender focuses on private and public sector loans, guarantees and advisory services. Its range of financing programs and advisory services includes trade and project financing, and export development guarantees.

In 2019, Uganda reached a deal with Afreximbank to locate its regional headquarters in Kampala, ending a three-year bid to set it up in Nairobi after foot-dragging by Kenya.

The regional trade bank had earlier said Kenya’s reluctance to grant it diplomatic status had forced the agency to woo Kampala.

Mr. Awambeng said the regional office has helped the bank serve better its East Africa regional customers.

“The bank has a strategy to take its business closer to its people…The office has helped to improve assets in the region,” he said.

In March 2020, Afreximbank created a US$3 billion credit facility to help African countries overcome the effects of the pandemic.

However, it was reported that Kenya did not utilize the facility, despite indicating initial readiness to tap it.

Through the Pandemic Trade Impact Mitigation Facility (PATIMFA) launched in April 2020, Afreximbank has disbursed more than US$6.5 billion in 2020 to help member countries manage the adverse impact of financial, economic, and health shocks caused by the COVID -19 pandemic

The Pandemic Trade Impact Mitigation Facility would help countries avoid trade payment defaults, support foreign exchange reserves and assist commodities exporters struggling with declining revenues.

“Africa is exposed on many fronts, including significant declines in tourism earnings, migrant remittances, commodity prices, and disruption of manufacturing supply chains,” Benedict Oramah, president of the Cairo-based bank said at the time.

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