South Africa: AfDB approves $150 million trade finance facility for Absa Group

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The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank has approved a financial package for Absa Group Limited comprising a sustainability-linked loan for an amount of ZAR 1.7 billion; an investment of ZAR 1 billion into Absa’s inaugural social bond issuance to be listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange; and a trade finance Risk Participation Agreement (RPA) facility for $150 million.

The intention is that the sustainability-linked loan and the social bond investment will be in the form of qualifying capital for Absa. Finalisation of the financial package is subject to the conclusion of relevant legal processes. The funding will enable Absa to further expand its strategic business lending activities within the social, and sustainable financing segment.

The financing will boost Absa’s program to scale up and grow its loan book in sustainable lending activities within the small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) segment, including for women and youth owned/ led enterprises, as well as to support increased provision of long-term affordable housing mortgage financing for female borrowers in South Africa. Absa Group Limited is one of Africa’s largest diversified banking groups with operations in more than 12 African countries, and a strategic partner of the African Development Bank.

Absa will deploy the trade financing facility to promote access to trade financing for enterprises and increased trade facilitation for the continent, including for African low-income countries and Transition States in line with the African Development Bank’s priorities for improving trade finance access to the continent as well as promoting intra-Africa trade.

Leila Mokaddem, Director General of the African Development Bank’s Southern Africa Region said the financing marked a continuation of the institution’s long-standing partnership with Absa.

“This comprehensive financing package will unlock financing including for youth and female entrepreneurs in South Africa, as well as for underserved female borrowers in the affordable housing sub-sector in South Africa,” she noted. “This is aligned with our priorities to promote entrepreneurship and job creation, especially for youth and women and improve quality of life for the people of Africa”.

Commending Absa on the continued operationalization of its Sustainable Finance Issuance Framework and commitment to sustainability, Ahmed Attout, the African Development Bank’s Acting Director for the Financial Sector Development Department, said the collaboration further demonstrated the Bank’s commitment to strategically drive innovation and to mobilize and channel funding including through debt capital markets towards key sectors and segments of the economy.

“We are pleased to see the agreement coming to fruition, enabling Absa to increase sustainable lending, launch our first social bond and enhance our work in closing the trade financing gap that currently exists in Africa. The financial close of this agreement will support our ambition to be an active force for good and strengthens our relationship with African Development Bank,” said Parin Gokaldas, Absa Group Treasurer.

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