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African Exim Bank approves US$500M for Guyana’s infrastructural development – Guyana Times

– another US$15M for local small & medium businesses being negotiated

The African Export-Import (Exim) Bank has approved a $500 million loan to Guyana for its infrastructure development needs, in addition to the US$15 million currently being negotiated for small and medium-sized local businesses.
These were among the announcements made during the ongoing AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum, which is currently being held at the Marriott Hotel from October 30 to October 31.

African Exim Bank President, Dr Benedict Oramah during his address at the AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum

When it comes to the US$15 million facility being negotiated with the African Exim Bank, President Dr Irfaan Ali, who was the keynote speaker at the event, announced that this sum was being negotiated on Guyana’s behalf by Professor Floyd Haynes, the founder of the NewHayven Merchant Bank.
“I want to recognise the strong work of Floyd Haynes… over the last number of months, Floyd has journeyed many times, to Africa. And has held many discussions with the Afro Exim Bank, to do a number of things.”

From left: President Dr Irfaan Ali, St Lucia Prime Minister Phillip Pierre; African Exim Bank President, Dr Benedict Oramah and Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley

“Just like the Government, they’re in the final stages of negotiating a US$15 million facility to support local businesses, SMEs, here in Guyana. His bank is also working with the Exim Bank, in support of one of the first local groups, all women, who would have won (two) of the oil blocks here in Guyana,” Ali said, a reference to Sispro Incorporated.
Last week, it was announced that Sispro was among the companies to have been awarded blocks from the recent oil auction. Of the eight new oil blocks that were awarded, Sispro received two blocks, including one of the only two deepwater blocks that were allocated. Sispro received a shallow block (S3) and a deep-water block (D2), from the auction of the blocks offshore Guyana.
The company is managed by Executive Director and Chairwoman, Dr Melissa Varswyk, Executive Director Dr Ayodele Dalgety-Dean; Executive Director and Secretary Abbigale Loncke-Watson; and Executive Director and Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG) President Dee George.

Exim Bank
Meanwhile, Dr Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the AfrEximbank, expressed satisfaction with the progress made since the last AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum. In his presentation to the forum, he pointed out that they have now been able to clearly define goals to bring together Africa and the Caribbean. And he stressed the importance of unity, especially now.
“Just over a year ago, we began that journey convinced that only we could transform the fortunes of our lands… All of us from Africa and the Caribbean, at this moment more than at any other time in history, hold a firm conviction that determined action can grant us the economic emancipation and the true dignity we deserve,” Oramah said.
“As we look ahead…in a de-globalising world, small open economies will suffer if they don’t bind together, and there can be no better binding than that of brothers and sisters, as represented by AfriCaribbean trade and investment integration,” he further said.
Oramah also announced that a $500 million loan has been concluded with Guyana for infrastructural development. It is understood that this agreement is being facilitated through a partnership between the Fund for Export Investment Development, an AfrEximbank subsidiary, and the Access Bank Group in Nigeria.
“For Guyana here, we’ve agreed to conclude a US$500 million transaction to support accelerated infrastructural development projects of the Guyanese Government… we also expect to sign a document evidencing the arrangements we’ve reached with the Government of Guyana for the US$500 million investment bridge financing facility,” Oramah explained.

Last year, the African Exim Bank approved a facility of US$1.5 billion for Caricom states, which will increase to US$3 billion when all 15 Caricom countries have signed the Partnership treaty. As of July 2023, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago had not signed the treaty.
So far, the Bank’s five trade and investment missions to Caricom have resulted in deals totalling US$2 billion at various stages of completion. Some of these have either been approved or are at final approval committee levels.
“AfrEximbank’s investment promotion drive has attracted well-advanced African investment interest in the Caribbean’s financial sector, fisheries, industrial parks, ports, renewable energy, and tourism,” a statement from the Bank said.
“Some of these deals will be signed at ACTIF 2023, and this will include the Bank’s impact investment subsidiary, the Fund for Export Development in Africa’s signing of a Framework Agreement with Access Bank Group, Nigeria, to jointly invest in the financial services sector across the Caribbean.”
Meanwhile, the Bank noted that it will also be running a pilot programme for the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) for Caricom Central Banks as the payment infrastructure for Caricom. Additionally, it has earmarked Barbados’s Africa Trade Centre as its permanent Caribbean office. (Jarryl Byran)

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