FDH Bank Plc has become the first Southern African bank to access a US10 million Africa Trade Exchange (ATEX) facility agreement set to reshape the agricultural landscape in the region.
ATEX is an online platform developed by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and African Export-Import Banks (AfreximBank) stands as a beacon of transparent and competitive access to critical supplies like food, fertilizer, and agricultural chemicals.
FDH Bank Deputy Managing Director George Chitera sealed the deal with Afreximbank Director and Global Head, of Trade Finance Gwen Mwaba, on Saturday at the ongoing Intra-Africa trade fair in Cairo Egypt.
In reaction to the agreement, Chitera said the Bank is pleased with the facility which has come in very timely manner.
“Malawi is an agro-based economy, and its staple food is maize cultivated between December and June. For a good harvest, there is a need for fertilizer that is not locally produced. The facility will assist the Bank in supporting its clients in the timely importation of this fertilizer for the 2023/2024 growing season.”
“The facility will also allow the Bank to increase its support to the Government of Malawi by increasing its credit facilities to importers of petroleum products.”
“Through the ATEX facility, the Bank will be able to support fuel importation by bridging the gap between the ordering and delivery of the fuel and the actual settlement of the payments to the suppliers,” said Chitera.
He added that the deal is coming in when most foreign banks are de-risking from the African markets, reducing their exposure to African economies and limiting the level of financial support to the trade within and outside the continent.
“The provision of the facility therefore asserts Afreximbank’s commitment to facilitating and promoting trade in Africa. With the increasing impact on global supply chain disruptions emanating from the challenging macroeconomic environment at the back of the Covid-19, the Russia/Ukraine war, and locally, the impact of Cyclone Freddy, such financing products from Afreximbank go a long way in cushioning the supply chain disruptions that may exist due to limited resources,” he said.
According to Chitera, by participating in the ongoing fair, the Malawi Stock Exchange listed Bank strives to become a leading financial services provider in Malawi and in the region to facilitate trade between Malawi and other countries by engaging businesses and demonstrating financial solutions that help importers and exporters to effectively do their business assisting with solutions to mitigate international trade risks and provide financing to enable growth.
On his part, Mwaba said apart from reinforcing the bond between the two parties, the deal also positions FDH Bank as the first bank in this African region to access the facility.
“This facility agreement will empower FDH Bank to effectively pool procurement for the upcoming 2023/2024 growing season, aligning with Malawi government strategy to bolster agricultural activities,” he said.
The Third Intra–African Trade Fair started on November 9 and will end on November 15 under the theme “Building Bridges for a successful AfCTA”, recognizing growth opportunities for Intra- African cross-border trade and investments.
FDH Bank was the only Malawian company sponsor of IATF.