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Afreximbank unveils a US$3million COVID-19 Response Grant

The bank’s net profit increased from US$275.9million in 2018 to US$315.3million last year

Kampala, Uganda | ISAAC KHISA | Africa’s multi-lateral lender, African Export-Import Bank, has unveiled a US$3-million grant to complement continental efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Bank’s President Prof. Benedict Oramah, who made the announcement in Cairo on April.24 said the grant was in response to a request by African heads of state, through the auspices of the African Union Chair Person, Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa, for the mobilisation of resources to address the pandemic.

He said a significant proportion of the grant would go to the COVID-19 Special Fund set up by the African Union (AU) as well as to the African Center for Disease Control (Africa CDC).

“We hope that our modest contribution will help to address some of the immediate needs. We encourage other African banks, funds, corporations and charitable organisations to also contribute to the relief effort,” said Prof. Oramah, who noted that Afreximbank was working with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the AU to help mobilise grant funding for the COVID-19 mitigation responses.

Highlighting the need for wide institutional support for the COVID-19 response effort, he said that “no one country or institution will be able to rise to the challenge of the pandemic on its own.”

There are more than 27600 confirmed cases of coronavirus across the continent, with a number of African countries imposing a range of prevention and containment measures against the spread of the pandemic.

Afreximbank’s grant support comes in addition to several initiatives the Bank is taking to support the effort in fighting the pandemic, such as the US$3-billion Pandemic Trade Impact Mitigation Facility (PATIMFA), which it launched in March, to help African countries deal with the economic and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Bank has also set aside an amount of $200 million for use in financing the production of COVID-19 equipment and supplies within Africa.

President Oramah said that the resource constraints and urgent nature of interventions on the ground required significant grant financing to ensure timely support for emergency interventions in combating the pandemic.

Afreximbank has a history of intervening in support of African countries in times of crisis. In November 2014, the Bank contributed $1 million to the effort to combat the outbreak of the Ebola virus disease which affected several countries in West Africa. In 2019, Afreximbank donated $1.5 million to countries in Southern Africa to support relief efforts for victims of Tropical Cyclone Idai.

Profits surge

Meanwhile, Afreximbank’s latest audited financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2019 shows a strong and consistent growth, with total comprehensive income of $324.2 million.

The results, which reflected a net income of $313.3 million, 14.3 per cent increase over the 2018 performance of $275.9 million, were achieved mainly due to higher operating income of $622.5 million compared to $489.8 million in 2018.

Afreximbank’s total assets grew by 7.6 per cent from $13.42 billion on 31 December 2018 to $14.44 billion as at 31 December 2019, explained mainly by the solid growth in net loans and advances.

The financial statements show a 29.7 per cent growth in gross income, which reached $1.1 billion in 2019 compared to $813.9 million 2018, putting the Bank above the $1 billion mark for the first time.

The Bank’s net profit increased from US$275.9million to US$315.3million during the same period under review.

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