The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Secretary General has commended the Eastern and Southern Africa Trade and Development Bank, popularly known as the PTA Bank, for its continued success record of growth rates above 80 percent in net profit and growth on its balance sheet.
SG Sindiso Ngwenya, who attended the 25th Annual Meeting of the PTA Board of Governors in Ethiopia says all this is as a result of various measures undertaken by the Bank to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of its business process.This also reflects the wise counsel and guidance of the Board of Governors in steering the Affairs of the Bank.
“COMESA is very happy to observe that despite the current financial crisis, the Bank was able to post an 88% increase over 2007 in net profit to reach USD$12.46 million and an 80% growth in its balance sheet .This is indeed a notable improvement in the Bank’s performance. It is gratifying to note that both project and trade finance windows of the Bank have grown in depth,” Mr Ngwenya said.
The Bank provides trade finance products in support of the region’s exports and also to facilitate the importation of inputs into the key sectors of the economies of its member States.
The Bank has also diversified its sources of funding from external sources for onward lending to viable projects. The PTA Bank signed a USD 98.6 million financing package with the African Development Bank; another USD 50 million line of credit with China Development Bank and a USD 20 million line of credit with the Dutch Development Finance Company. This will go a long way in augmenting the Bank’s resource capacity in order to fund more projects in its Member States.
Meanwhile, Secretary General Ngwenya used the PTA Board meeting to report on recent developments in the COMESA region. He revealed that the three organisations of EAC, COMESA and SADC held a successful Tripartite Summit in the area of trade, customs and economic integration and approved the expeditious establishment of a Grand Free Trade Area encompassing the twenty six member States of the three RECS with the ultimate goal of establishing a single Customs Union.
A conference on the pilot project for Aid for Trade Programme for the North-South Corridor for COMESA, EAC and SADC was held in Lusaka, Zambia - and it mobilised US$2.7 billion. The 10th EDF for Eastern and Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Strategy Paper/Regional Indicative Programme was officially signed in November 2008 between COMESA, EAC, IGAD, and IOC and the European Commission for an allocation of euro 645 million. The ESA-IO Regional organizations are currently in the process of formulating the first batch of projects.
COMESA successfully held a meeting for Ministers responsible for Agriculture and Environment in Nairobi, Kenya on climate change. This meeting launched the COMESA Climate Change Initiative. This initiative was boosted by the signing of an agreement with the Norwegian Government in support of the regional climate change programme to the tune of US$2.5 million.COMESA plans to set up a Carbon Facility which will be housed in the PTA Bank.
“I would like to underscore that globally, carbon trade runs into tens of billions of dollars annually mostly among developed countries. We want the market to be opened up for developing countries where prices for carbon trade are very low as compared to the prices in developed countries,” Ngwenya emphasised.
Lastly but not the least, the COMESA Secretariat with funding from the Spanish Government is launching a Women’s entrepreneurship programme which will provide 85% guarantees to loans that are given to women. The Kenya Industrial Research Institute (KIDRI) has been selected to provide support to women incubator projects. The PTA Bank is expected to manage the Spanish Fund.
Courtesy: e-comesa newsletter # 211