KALONDE NYATI, Lusaka
THE Development Bank of Belarus has signed an agreement to provide a US$150 million credit facility to the African Export-Import (Afrexim) Bank for the financing of the acquisition of goods from Belarus by Zambian and other African entities.
The agreement, signed during the closing ceremony of the Belarus-Africa Forum last week, will result in the provision of credit facilities to be granted as a lump sum or a non-revolving credit line based on individual loan agreements.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Afrexim Bank president Benedict Oramah said the facility is part of a US$800 million facility aimed at financing and promoting trade between African countries and Belarus.
Dr Oramah said the facility will go a long way in achieving Afrexim Bank’s target of raising the value of trade between Africa and Belarus to US$3 billion by 2020 through trade facilitation.
“Africa is in a hurry to begin diversifying away from commodities to value-added products. Belarus could be the continent’s partner in that drive and that the required technology could come from Belarus,” he said.
He also said there is need to explore possibilities of some African countries assembling Belarusian equipment, which will be sold across the continent to solidify the partnership.
“Goods partially processed in Africa could be finished in Belarus for sale in the Eurasian market and Belarusian equipment could be assembled in an African country and sold across the continent,” he said.
At the same occasion, Development Bank of Belarus chairman Sergei Roumas said the signing of the agreement is the first step in a mutually beneficial cooperation arrangement between the two banks.