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AfDB approves euro 50 million trade finance partnership with Societe Generale to support local banks and SMEs in Africa

THE African Development Bank (AfDB) on Wednesday approved a €50 million unfunded risk-sharing facility partnership with French bank Societe Generale to further support trade finance activities across Africa.

The facility will contribute to reducing Africa’s trade finance gap by enhancing Societe Generale’s risk bearing capacity by up to fifty percent, enabling it to provide increased confirmation limits to local issuing banks on the continent, says an AfDB statement.

The parties will share the default risk on a portfolio of eligible trade transactions originated by African Issuing Banks and indemnified by Societe Generale. Beneficiaries of this facility will be issuing banks in Africa who will benefit from additional support from international banks to grow their trade finance business, as well as small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and domestic firms who rely on these issuing banks to fulfill their trade finance commitments, the statement added.

Stefan Nalletamby, Director for Financial Sector Development at the African Development Bank, said the partnership with Societe Generale will help support African small businesses and local corporates involved in international trade.

‘The facility aligns well with the acute market demand for trade finance in Africa in agriculture, transport, construction, health and manufacturing. It is also consistent with the African Development Bank’s High 5 strategic priorities, specifically Industrialise Africa, Integrate Africa, and Feed Africa.

‘The Bank’s Financial Sector Development Strategy promotes increased access to finance for small businesses and widening and deepening African financial markets,’ Nalletamby said. ‘When fully utilised, the Partnership will support 40 issuing local banks operating in 16 African countries and is forecast to catalyse roughly close to EUR 600 million worth of trade transactions over a 3-year period.’

AfDB’s Deputy Director General for West Africa, Joseph Ribeiro, said: ‘We are happy about this partnership with Societe Generale as it offers the flexible use of AfDB Group’s strong AAA-rated risk-bearing capacity to increase access to trade finance on the continent, and more specifically, to support access to finance for small and medium enterprises and local enterprises operating in fragile states.’

Societe Generale’s Global Head of Trade Finance for Commodities, Pierre-Antoine Barreault, added: ‘With a presence in 19 countries, Societe Generale is a leading international bank in Africa and provides multidimensional support for SMEs and African companies, aiming at contributing in a responsible and sustainable way to the continent’s development. This partnership with AfDB is instrumental for Societe Generale to enhance its capabilities to assist our clients and the local economic actors to source vital food and energy products.’

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