OREANDA-NEWS. The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) approved on Wednesday, September 21, 2016, in Abidjan, a US $310 million trade finance loan for Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, parent company of the Ecobank Group. Through this facility the AfDB will provide critical trade finance funding to support economies in which Ecobank is present.

The intervention comes at a time of falling commodity prices which have caused shortages in foreign exchange supply and led to unmet demand for trade finance instruments to support ongoing structural changes in the respective economies in Sub-Saharan Africa. Through the Ecobank branch network across Sub-Saharan Africa, the project will mainly support small and medium enterprises and local companies involved in import export activity.

The project will help address critical market demand for trade finance and dollar liquidity by supporting vital economic sectors such as agri-business, chemicals, construction, engineering, food processing, manufacturing and non-traditional exports. It will foster financial sector development, provide a platform to support intra-Africa and regional trade and support financing of medium term infrastructure projects, creating robust industries and employment opportunities for youth. It will enhance support to local enterprises in Sub-Saharan Africa, whose trading activities are being constrained by shortages in dollar funding. When fully utilised, including roll-overs, the interventions are expected to facilitate circa US $2 billion of trade over a three and a half-year period.