The East African country of Eritrea has joined the membership of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), becoming the 48thAfrican country to become a participating state or a shareholder in the continental multilateral trade finance institution.
The membership follows the recent acquisition of shares in the Bank by South Africa which has named the Export Credit Insurance Corporation of South Africa as its designated investor.
Under the terms of the Agreement for the Establishment of the Bank, which was signed by Participating States in Abidjan on 8 May 1993, countries that did not sign on before it entered into force are required to first issue an instrument of acceptance and accession and then proceed to formally ratify the Agreement in order to fully activate their membership of the Bank.
Membership of the Bank gives Eritrea automatic access to the full range of products and facilities offered by Afreximbank, including trade finance facilities, project finance services, trade information and advisory services, support in the development of a local content policy and assistance in developing and implementing industrial parks and special economic zones.
Countries currently on the list of Afreximbank participating and shareholding states include Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, and Lesotho. Others are Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Sao Tome and Principe, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Afreximbank shareholders are a mix of public and private entities divided into four classes and consist of African governments, central banks, regional and sub-regional institutions, private investors and financial institutions, as well as non-African financial institutions, export credit agencies and private investors.
Class “A” shareholders are African states, African central banks and African public institutions, including the African Development Bank, while Class “B” is made up of African financial institutions and African private investors.
Class “C” shares are held by non-African investors, mostly international banks and export credit agencies, including Standard Chartered Bank, HSBC, Citibank, China Exim Bank and Exim India. Class “D” shares, a tier approved in December 2012, are fully paid value shares that can be held by any investor. SBM Securities, Mauritius, is currently the only investor in this class on behalf of holders of its depository receipts which are listed on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius.