Absa, China bank to boost SMEs funding

KELLY NJOMBO, Lusaka
THE small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Zambia are expected to benefit from a five-year US$100 million special facility agreement signed by Absa Bank Limited and the China Development Bank (CDB).

Absa Bank Limited, which is a subsidiary of the Barclays Africa Group (BAGL), is committed to providing support to SMEs in the continent where it has its presence.

According to a statement issued on Friday, the initial draw-down is based on Absa’s current funding needs, and may be increased in the future to assist with new funding opportunities within the group’s operations.
“The first major transaction between the two lenders is geared towards providing funding to SMEs in BAGL’s existing and prospective clients across the continent through its 12-country presence. Barclays Bank Zambia’s clients [SMEs] are expected to benefit from the agreement, as it is also a subsidiary of the BAGL,” the statement reads.
Headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, BAGL has majority stakes in banks in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania (Barclays Bank Tanzania and National Bank of Commerce), Uganda and Zambia.
It also has representative offices in Namibia and Nigeria as well as insurance operations in Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia.Barclays Bank Kenya and Barclays Bank Botswana continue to be listed on their respective stock exchanges.
Commenting on the development, group head partnerships, joint ventures and strategic alliances Craig Bond said the group is glad to partner with CDB on the landmark transaction, which will empower SMEs in the region.
He said the landmark transaction is also vital as it echoes on the 2017 Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) theme, ‘stronger partnership for a brighter future.’
CDB is one of the biggest lenders in Africa, founded in 1994 as a development financial institution under the leadership of China’s State Council.
The bank has assets of about US$2 trillion, and is the world’s largest development finance institution, and is the largest Chinese bank for foreign investment and financing co-operation, long-term lending and bond issuance.

Source
Business – Zambia Daily Mail

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