Emnet Assefa

African Export Import Bank (Afreximbank) said it was looking in to financing $600 million potash production project in Ethiopia.

Briefing the media this morning following the opening of the Bank’s 20th year anniversary celebrations here in Addis Ababa, the Bank’s President, Jean Louis Ekra, said the Bank was looking in to financing a potash production project in Ethiopia.

To mark 20th year anniversary Afreximbank is holding a three days conference and celebrations that opened with a conference discussing on trade finance and export development in Africa.

Within the last two decades since its establishment, Afreximbank financed 80% projects from the private and 20% from public investments, according to the President of the Bank.

“Currently there is a growing emergence of African private sector in various sectors,” said the president, adding the Bank has witnessed stronger private sector growth throughout the continent during its 20 years of existence. Mr. Ekra mentioned telecom industry as a leading area with private sector involvement. “Most of our customers are African private entities operating in various sectors of African economies.”

Afreximbank’s 25% share of its total $ 3.7 billion is owned by the private sector while 64% of its share is owned by the public sector and a further 10% by international entities.

Besides shortage of finance, the bank mentions lack of infrastructure and regional integration as the main bottlenecks for the development of trade and business in Africa. “Africa needs $ 50-120 billion annually in order to address its infrastructure problems,” says the President indicating that the realization of infrastructure and free movement of goods and people within the continent as a key factor for Africa to achieve a greater economic success.

Having 34 African countries as its members Afreximbank takes, among others, agribusiness, telecom, hotel and transport sectors as priority area of investment in Africa.

Citing its plans to finance the potash development in Ethiopia as too early, the Bank didn’t provide full details. Currently, Allana Potash, a Toronto-based company, is the largest investor in Potash exploration projects in Ethiopia. In May this year, the company reported “it had filed” its final feasibility study on Dallol, located in northeastern Danakil Depression,  with the Ministry of Mines in Ethiopia, which “fulfilled the last condition necessary for the company to receive its mining license.”

Photo: Addis Standard

 

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