African Import and Export Bank (Afreximbank) and FDH Bank plc have signed a $10 million (about K17 billion) Africa Trade Exchange (Atex) facility agreement at the ongoing Third Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF 2023) in Cairo, Egypt.
FDH Bank plc deputy managing director George Chitera and Afreximbank director and global head of trade finance Gwen Mwaba formalised the strategic collaboration on Saturday.
In a brief interview, Chitera said the deal is set to reshape the landscape of agricultural procurement as it would ease some foreign exchange requirements for the importation of goods such as fertilisers.
He said: “This facility agreement will empower FDH Bank to efficiently pool procurement for this growing season, aligning with Malawi government’s strategy to bolster agricultural activities.”
Chitera said their relationship with Afreximbank dates back to 2016 when the Malawi Stock Exchange-listed FDH Bank plc received a $3 million (about K5 billion) Afreximbank Trade Facilitation Programme (Aftraf) facility.
Mwaba said Atex is an online platform developed by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and Afreximbank as a beacon for transparent and competitive access to critical supplies such as food, fertilisers, and agricultural chemicals.
She said: “Therefore, this deal would support importation of strategic and enabling commodities such as fertiliser and fuel in Malawi.”
Mwaba said the milestone not only reinforces the bond between Afreximbank and FDH Bank plc, but also positions the Malawian bank as the first bank in southern Africa to access a facility under the Atex.
FDH Bank plc is a subsidiary of FDH Financial Holdings Limited, a diversified financial services group.
Aftraf enhances the confidence of counterparties in the settlement of international trade transactions and improves correspondent banking relationships.
It supports critical imports into Africa, boosts intra-African trade and facilitates the purchase of equipment for the production of export goods.
The Third IATF, which runs from November 9 to 15, opened on Friday and has attracted over 1 600 exhibitors and 35 000 visitors from the continent and the world with about 30 Malawian firms expected to showcase their products.
President Lazarus Chakwera is expected to join the fair from today, .
The last IATF was held in Durban, South Africa in 2021.