Afreximbank approves US$70 mln for Beitbridge upgrade


Egypt, Cairo, (New Ziana) – The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) on Wednesday approved a US$70 million facility to finance the expansion and upgrade of the Beitbridge border post in Zimbabwe.

In terms of the loan facility, Afreximbank approved US$43 million to Zimborders Mauritius Ltd and an Investment Guarantee of US$27 million supporting Pembani Remgro Infrastructure Fund to join other investors in the project.

The facility is part of a US$204.4 million fund for the upgrade of the facility issued by a consortium of financial institutions which include the FirstRand Bank Limited, ABSA Limited, Nedbank Limited, Standard Bank of South Africa and The Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund.

The Zimborders Consortium is made up of a group of Zimbabweans, South Africans, international entrepreneurs and financial institutions and experts.

Afreximbank President, Professor Benedict Oramah said the improvement of the border post, which is one of the busiest ports in Africa, was critical to reducing costs associated with traffic delays, and in turn increasing trade in the Southern Africa region, which was in line with the bank’s thrust to boost intra-African trade.

“It is too costly to wait for almost five days at the border to deliver goods and services across Southern Africa. With this facility, we aim to cut indirect and direct costs of trade associated with border post effectiveness and efficiency,” said Oramah.

The upgrade of the border post, is through a public-private partnership, which entails purchase of technical equipment and software, establishment of a fire station, residential building units, housing sewer lines, housing electrical supply lines, a reservoir, water pipelines, a wastewater treatment plant, a water pump station and other infrastructure.

Efficiency at the border is expected to significantly reduce waiting periods that continue to hamper and slow trade across Southern Africa, causing haulage operators to use longer and less efficient alternative routes.

Estimates indicate that trucks take about five days to be cleared at the border post, creating additional “dead-weight” transport costs for importers.
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