via CABS gets $10 million French loan | The Source March 19, 2014
Central African Building Society (CABS) on Wednesday signed a five-year $10 million loan facility with French development agency Proparco for housing development and to finance cash-starved manufacturing firms.
“Looking at the figures and ratios of CABS, the group is happy to build partnership with the society,” Proparco regional representative for Southern Africa, Christophe Blanchot, said at the signing ceremony.
He said the institution was ready to build long-term partnerships with the Zimbabwe following years of hostility between the country and the European Union in which France is a member.
“There is a huge potential in this country and Zimbabwe is a key actor in regional integration,” he said.
Proparco has previously loaned money to local companies such as Econet Wireless and NMB Holdings.
Blanchot said his institution was interested in investing in the energy sector although its bid to finance the expansion of the Kariba South power station was not successful.
French ambassador to Zimbabwe Laurent Delahousse said the facility was testimony of the faith the European country has in Zimbabwe’s economic prospects.
“It’s a strong political message from France to Zimbabwe that we believe in you, that we believe that the difficult times you are facing today in the economy will be soon overcome and that there are many possibilities to work together to develop our trade, investments,” he said.
“Sometimes the relationship between the union (EU) and Zimbabwe is difficult but we want to show that beyond that we are looking at a long-term relationship and want to overcome the short-term difficulties we may have.”
CABS managing director, Kevin Terry said the loan would help the country’s largest mortgage lender extend long-term loans.
“The lack of long-term loans in the Zimbabwe system has made it very difficult for us to give long-term financing and for the economy to grow. This facility is going to assist us in facilitating a lot of the sectors of our economy that need that facilitation, for example manufacturing sector,” he said.
CABS recently introduced long-term mortgage financing of up to 20 years.
The society will also use part of the money for its housing project where it plans to build over 3,000 houses in Budiriro, south west of the city centre.
It is also planning to develop an additional 12,000 housing units in the rest of the country.