The Board of Directors of African Export-Import Bank has approved the launch of the Ukraine Crisis Adjustment Trade Financing Programme for Africa.
The credit facility was developed by the bank to manage the impacts of the Ukraine crisis on African economies and businesses. The programme amounts to $4bn.
The Russia-Ukraine crisis which escalated on February 24, 2022 has had a significant effect on the global economy.
Given the importance of both Russia and Ukraine as sources of crude oil and gas, raw materials and grains, the outbreak of the conflict has wider repercussions on a global scale, including adversely affecting African economies, especially those that rely heavily on grain, fertilizer and fuel imports.
The Afreximbank’s UKAFPA programme would be implemented under various components.
They are the Import Re-Order Cost Adjustment Financing, which would help countries to meet immediate import price increases pending domestic demand adjustments and the Oil and Metals Buy-Back Financing to refinance over-collateralized loans in the context of the current high oil and metal prices, and thereby release more free cashflow for use in meeting other urgent needs, such as food and fertilizer imports and servicing rising cost of debt.
There is the Commodity Export Revenue Stabilisation to help countries and companies to structure and enter derivative contracts at today’s high commodity prices and stabilise future export earnings and Tourism Revenue Deficit Financing to be extended to Central Banks of tourism dependent economies to cover foreign exchange revenue shortfalls arising from a decline in tourism arrivals from Russia and Ukraine
The programme also has the National Export Revenue Acceleration Facility which would be used to accelerate the completion of impactful export-oriented projects by expediting access to foreign currency for use in importing critical equipment, technology, and expertise, for project completion.
Since its establishment, Afreximbank has been implementing various emergency intervention programmes, with embedded strong risk mitigations to respond to various crises on a global scale and impacting Africa.
Recent examples include the Pandemic Trade Impact Mitigation Facility (PATIMFA) through which Afreximbank disbursed over $7bn in support of African economies in their fight against the Covid 19 pandemic.
That facility expired in March. Previously, in 2015, the Bank introduced its Countercyclical Trade Liquidity Facility (COTRALF) that provided a platform for the disbursement of over $10bn to African commercial and central banks making it possible to avert large scale trade debt payment defaults at the height of the commodity crisis.
Both facilities achieved their respective goals and were deemed vitally important and successful interventions.
The bank said that UKAFPA is a response to an urgent call for emergency intervention by member states of the Bank.
Speaking after the board meeting held in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire, Professor Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank said,
“I am delighted that our Board has approved the introduction of the UKAFPA, once again demonstrating their responsiveness to the needs of African member states and their citizens.
“This initiative will contribute immensely to averting social anxiety and upheaval that may arise from looming food shortages and high costs of fertilizer and petroleum products.
“Following African Union’s endorsement, Afreximbank shareholders approved a $6.5bn General Capital Increase on 2021 to boost the capacity of the Bank to deliver on its mandate, deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, and support AfCFTA implementation.
“We must now add the consequences of the ongoing Ukraine crisis to the catalogue of emergencies a strong Afreximbank has to contend with.
“We are very grateful to member states and shareholders who have already paid in their subscriptions giving the Bank the flexibility to respond swiftly to prevailing challenges.
“I call upon those who have not acted to do so urgently as we will once again learn that in times of major crises we can only count on our own institutions to lead the way before others follow.”
The President of the Republic of Senegal and current Chairperson of the African Union, Macky Sall, expressed his support for the UKAFPA initiative.
He said, “I welcome the renewed energy of African institutions that have led our coordinated and successful response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Africa now faces the socio-economic challenges posed by a global context of conflict. Afreximbank has once again shown the way forward by enabling the continent to tackle the impact of the crisis head-on through financing solutions tailored to the specific pressure points facing our member countries.
“I hope that UKAFPA will play a major role in building resilience in nutrition and food security on the African continent, in line with the theme of the 36th AU Summit.”
Dr. Vera Songwe, United Nations Under Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa welcomed this new initiative and added that:
“The New facility is timely and will support countries build resilience as they face yet another exogenous shock.
“The facilities approved by Afreximbank are also core tools needed to continue strengthening the continental financial architecture as countries look to rebuild their economies and take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement.”