The New Times (Kigali)

19 May 2014

Rwanda: PTA Bank Funding for Local Devt Projects to Hit U.S. $165 Million

Lack of capital to fund long-term projects could soon reduce following pledge by regional financial institution, the Eastern and Southern Africa Trade and Development Bank (PTA Bank) to scale up financial support to local investors.

Admassu Tadesse, the PTA Bank chief executive officer, said the Bank would increase its investment portfolio from t6he current $100m to $165m this year.

Tadess said the Bank's intervention would focus on projects in the energy, infrastructure, real estate, mining, transport, hospitality, agro-business, health, as well as manufacturing sectors.

"In addition to the already existing financial support to entities RwandAir, Bank of Kigali, Cimerwa cement and Casablanca, our appetite to continue investing in Rwanda is growing, thanks to the country's conducive business environment and macro-economic stability.

"We are ready to continue financing long-term projects and working closely with the private sector to facilitate regional trade and support the Rwanda's industrialisation efforts," Tadesse said during a business seminar with local investors in Kigali on Friday.

The seminar, that aimed at engaging representatives of the business community on the products and services of the Bank, was organised by PTA Bank and the Rwanda Development Board.

According to Catherine Kimaryo, the Bank's regional director, the regional funder's priority areas of intervention will also offer advisory and appraisal services, lease products, syndication loans and corporate finances.

Loans ranging from $1m to $95m will be given out to eligible business and industries, while those investing in infrastructure and strategic projects will access up to $143m.

Loan repayment period will range from three to five years, and up to 15 years for infrastructure projects.

Kimaryo said PTA Bank was looking to support investments with high potential for positive regional economic impact. "Projects that create and promote intra-regional, and those that promote and develop indigenous and appropriate technologies and skills will be given priority," she said.

Projects that support women in business and overall development, comply with international environment protection standards and create jobs and other social benefits would also benefit, she added.

Intervention timely:

Herbert Ruzibiza, the head of financial services at Rwanda Development Board, said limited access to credit for financing long-term projects was one of the challenges the private sector is facing, adding that increased funding for development projects from PTA Bank will boost the private sector investments in the country.

Charles Ngarambe, the Kigali Bus Services executive chairman and a client of PTA Bank, said the Bank plays a critical role in risk management.

"It's vital to have a Bank that is ready to facilitate long-term projects because it helps in risk management and business expansion. Investors also have an opportunity to benefit form advisory services they offer, which is critical for business success," he added.

PTA Bank's mandate is to finance and foster trade, socio-economic development and regional economic integration across its 18 member states. They include Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya and Malawi.

Others are Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. China is a non-regional member while the African Development Bank is an institutional member of the PTA Bank.

The regional bank has provided close to $10b since its inception in 1985.

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