The Africa Development Bank (AfDB) is organising a business seminar to be held in Harare within the next two months where it will roll out a funding package for the country’s manufacturing sector, agribusinesses as well as power producer projects.
In an interview with The Sunday Mail Business on the sidelines of the signing of a $25 million loan facility for the private sector, the bank’s chief trade finance officer, based at the regional office in South Africa, Bleming Nekati, said the institution was mobilising more resources aimed at helping kick-start the Zimbabwean economy.
The seminar and new funding is in line with sentiments expressed by the bank’s country manager Damoni Kitabire, who noted the Zimbabwe has the potential to recover from its economic past, given the new political and institutional dispensation led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The seminar for funding and the $25 million loan facility come on the heels of a “fruitful meeting” the financial institution’s president Dr Akinumwi Adesina, held with President Mnangagwa on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January.
Although the bank declined to reveal the size of the purse they are putting together for Zimbabwe to be distributed after the seminar, local industry — according to Reserve Bank Governor Dr John Mangudya, needs “anything between $300 million and $400 million to retool.”
The AfDB says it is ready to play ball.
“We are looking at setting up a business workshop or seminar where a number of experts within the AfDB will come to Zimbabwe to share with selected sectors of the economy that aligns with our strategy and indicate the resources that we might make available to those sectors for the productive capacity,” Mr Nekati.
“The figures, I cannot tell you as yet but what I can assure you is that at the business seminar in about two to three months, or eight to 12 weeks from now we will be able to share the wallet that we are putting aside to help.
“Also an extension of similar facilities to a number of institutions in the financial sector. So we foresee more activity unfolding in the coming few weeks,” he said.
The funding will, according to Mr Nekati, have a bias towards the financial institution’s “High 5” strategic priorities which seek to industrialise Africa. “As you might know, we are pushing the high five priority areas which are lighting up and powering Africa, so projects within power generation, electricity will be prioritised.
“We are also looking at the feed Africa agenda where we are supporting agri-business firms and value chains and we will like to identify opportunities that allow us to have maximum development impact in the country and also help in the economic development of the country,’’ said Mr Nekati.