The African Export Import Bank (Afreximbank) said on Tuesday it will avail up to $1.5 billion in credit to Zimbabwe and provide guarantees to foreign investors looking to invest in the southern Africa country.
The Egypt-based lender is one of the few lenders that have over the years continued to provide financial support to the country, which is saddled with a debt of over $10 billion.
Afreximbank president and chairman, Okey Oramah said the financial support was meant to assist Zimbabwe with its economic recovery process.
The funding will be over and above the $600 million line of credit availed to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in September.
“We also discussed a number of other areas that will involve additional investment from us for something that will be in the order of $1 billion to $1.5 billion that will include certain kinds of guarantees to encourage investors to come into Zimbabwe this time,” said Oramah after meeting Zimbabwe’s new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Mnangagwa has pledged to implement much-needed reforms to boost economic performance and create jobs.
Oramah said the lender will also assist with further nostro stabilisation facilities, of up to $150 million, for local banks which are struggling to finance critical imports as well as address liquidity challenges in the country.
“We also want to make sure we support the stabilisation of the economy, that means providing liquidity to make sure that the situation where people are rushing every time to look for cash is dealt with,” said Oramah.
Finance Minister, Patrick Chinamasa said the extension of credit to Zimbabwe was a signal to the world that Zimbabwe was open for business.
“Afreximbank has been a pillar of strength throughout our most difficult times and I am happy to say they have been with us from the beginning and will be with us even in the new era of prosperity that is beckoning to us,” he said, adding with the support, the economy will in 2018 likely grow by more than the targeted 4.5 percent.
“I believe this economy is going to be in for some very good times,” added Chinamasa.
The Afreximbank loan will be the second facility after Zimbabwe’s new government signed a $153 million loan agreement with China last Wednesday to expand and refurbish its international airport in Harare as it bids to attract investors and tourists.