BY FIDELITY MHLANGA
The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has announced a donation of $1,5 million to victims of Tropical Cyclone Idai, which recently devastated the southern African countries of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi.
The regional bank has been at the forefront in extending nostro stabilisation and liquidity facilities to Zimbabwe.
Afreximbank president Benedict Oramah said the bank decided to act on the tragedy, given the scale of the devastation wrought about by the cyclone, whose death toll is expected to exceed 1 000 and affected at least 2,5 million people.
The relief package was approved by the bank’s board of directors during its meeting in Cairo on March 23, and will be distributed across the three countries on the basis of the scale of damage suffered by each country.
“He announced that the funds would be disbursed through the national relief agencies of the three countries, as they were well-placed to deploy them to the most critical areas of need in each country. In addition to the official donation, Afreximbank staff members have launched an initiative to make voluntary contributions to support the relief effort. Such donations will be collected and forwarded to the affected countries,” the regional bank said in a statement.
Afreximbank hoped that many other African banks and corporations, some of which are its clients, would be encouraged by the gesture to also contribute to the relief effort, said the president.
Oramah also announced a decision by the board of directors for Afreximbank to send missions to the affected countries to assess the potential for deploying its programmes and facilities to the three countries.
Afreximbank has a history of intervening in support of African countries in times of crisis. In November 2014, the bank contributed $1 million to combat the outbreak of th e Ebola virus disease, which affected several countries in West Africa
To ameliorate the consequences of events of this nature, the bank launched a food emergency contingent trade financing facility that seeks to rapidly deploy the product across Africa.