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RB calls for growth-focused banks

CHIMWEMWE MWALE, Addis Ababa
FORMER President Rupiah Banda says there is need for more development-focused banks in African regional bodies to meet the continent’s vast development financing needs.
Mr Banda said Africa is in an era in which its financial institutions have grown and modernised to fulfil their mandates.
He said this here on Wednesday night during the formal launch and rebranding of the Trade and Development Bank (TDB), formerly the Preferential Trade Area (PTA) Bank.
“I am, therefore, proud today to be associated with Trade and Development Bank (TDB) and I believe that our collective presence here is an indication of our support to this ambitious journey that TDB has embarked on today,” he said.
The launch and rebranding was also attended by Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) secretary-general Sindiso Ngwenya and TDB president and chief executive officer Admassu Tadesse at the Sheraton Hotel.
Mr Banda is one of the five eminent persons on the advisory panel of the TDB and was invited to launch the rebranded bank.
This is according to a speech obtained yesterday by press and tourism secretary at the Zambian Embassy in Ethiopia Naomi Nyawali.
The Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank, commonly known as PTA Bank, now TDB, is an African regional development financial institution established in 1985.
Although the bank is an institution of the COMESA, its membership is open to non-COMESA states, non-regional countries and institutional shareholders.
Mr Banda commended the TDB president and his team for growing the bank from US$1 billion a few years ago to US$4 billion with the bank tripling its balance sheet in five years.
The former head of State said the projects funded by the bank impact on national economies and help improve household incomes, thereby addressing challenges such as poverty, hunger, education and sanitation, among others.
“It is amazing to have seen the bank rise from strength to strength and channel historic levels of financing into the economies of our region,” Mr Banda said.
Mr Banda urged the bank to do more to close the huge gap of financing requirements, as the bank plays a critical role in helping unlock the potential of the region.
He noted that Africa’s population has grown from 550 million to 1.27 billion people with about half living in eastern and southern Africa since the bank was founded.
“This indicates how challenging our development agenda has become. Many millions more to reach with infrastructure and basic services and many millions to be employed , especially our vast numbers of young people,” Mr Banda said.

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