By Chioma Gabriel
Harare—The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has embarked on a concept to transform its buildings into iconic business complexes with integrated one-stop trade services shop, the President, Dr. Benedict Oramah, announced in Harare, yesterday.
Oramah said at a ceremony where he received the title for land donated by the Government of Zimbabwe for the construction of the bank’s permanent Regional Office for Southern Africa, that the complexes, to be branded Afreximbank – Africa Trade Centres, would create mini business parks for African trade.
They would offer such facilities as a large auditorium conference centre; a trade information centre; corporate rental office space for trade promoting bodies, export credit agencies, commercial banks, etc; a small business innovation and incubation hub; upmarket furnished offices; high end shops and restaurants; and public facilities, including gymnasium, food court, etc.
He said: “I am pleased to note that Zimbabwe will be the first beneficiary of this concept. The project, when completed, will transform Zimbabwe into an intra-African trade hub; a centre of knowledge and information about markets; and a centre where major deals can be struck.”
The project will also accelerate the transformation of the neighbourhood into a business district and will enable Afreximbank to expand its operations in Southern Africa in size, scope and complexity, added the President.
He commended Zimbabwe for its support to the bank and for allocating the land measuring 12,000 square metres to it, saying Afreximbank’s relationship with Zimbabwe dated back more than two decades and had grown into a “solid marriage” so strong that no crisis could put it asunder.
The President announced that the bank was currently processing deals worth about $1 billion for public and private sector entities in Zimbabwe.
Earlier, Saviour Kasukuwere, Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing of Zimbabwe, who handed over the title, described Afreximbank as a partner African institution that had stood by the country during the most challenging economic times.
Patrick Chinamasa, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, said the donation of the land to Afreximbank was a demonstration of the commitment of the government and people of Zimbabwe to the ideals and the mandate of the Bank.
Afreximbank’s support for Zimbabwe had made the country’s journey more bearable following the withdrawal of international banks from there about 20 years ago, he said. Noting that Zimbabwe was the Bank’s third largest shareholder, he pledged that the country would not hesitate to follow its rights when any new subscriptions were called for.
The presentation ceremony was held on the sidelines of the 114th meeting of the Bank’s Board of Directors which ended in Harare today.