East and southern African trade and development organisation PTA Bank has announced a partnership with the European Investment Bank (EIB) for the launch of EUR160 million (US$180.9 million) lending initiative aimed at supporting investment across east and southern Africa.
EIB – which is owned by the European Union member states – will provide EUR80 million (US$90.4 million), which will be matched by PTA Bank.
Under the scheme agribusiness, energy, manufacturing and service sector companies will be able to access loans in a range of local and foreign currencies. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as well as larger firms will be eligible for investment support.
The lending scheme will be open to companies in Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Rwanda, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.
Companies will be able to access loans up to 15 years in Euro and US dollars, or up to seven years in local currency.
“The new engagement announced today between the European Investment Bank and PTA Bank reflects our strong shared commitment to support private sector enterprise activity in Africa,” said Pim van Ballekom, EIB vice president.
“This [initiative]will help firms present in  countries to create new jobs and explore new business opportunities in key sectors.”
The initiative represents the largest private sector lending scheme ever backed by EIB in Africa.
“We are delighted to join forces with the EIB to give a much needed boost to increased investment in the real economies of eastern and southern Africa which is key to job creation and economic transformation,” said Admassu Tadesse, president of PTA Bank.
The lending scheme will be accompanied by a EUR2 million (US$2.3 million) training initiative, aimed at expanding the environmental, social and money-laundering assessment skills of PTA staff – who will be administering the fund on the ground – ; while the training will also increase the staff’s ability to assess the economic impact of projects financed through the initiative.