Africa Investor Awards ATI ‘Best Export Credit Initiative’ of 2011

Ai AwardsIN

 JOHANNESBURG, 23 November, 2011 – Africa investor (Ai), a leading international investment research and communications group announced today the winners of the 2011 Ai Agribusiness Investment Awards, which recognise organisations, companies and personalities driving transactions and improving Africa’s agribusiness investment climate. The African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) took the award for ‘Best Export Credit Initiative’ for a project in Zambia that supported Standard Bank in its efforts to increase credit financing in the agricultural sector.

ATI’s submission won over top international and African companies on the basis of its impact on reducing financial risk, contributing to the growth of Agribusiness as an asset class in Africa, the use of local resources – human and capital, positive impact on the local community both social and economic and long-term economic growth.

Commenting on ATI’s overall impact in Africa, Hubert Danso the CEO and Vice Chairman of Ai and the host of the awards ceremony noted “the ATI model is making waves across Africa.”

On this project, ATI provided political risk insurance to Standard Bank on a $12.8 million mid-term loan and asset finance facility, which supported the construction of a grain storage facility in Zambia’s Mkushi district – known as the ‘bread basket’ of Zambia producing 40% of its wheat, 45% of its commercial maize output and 25% of the country’s soy beans. The financing directly supported a private collective of 17 commercial farmers, who managed the construction and who will ultimately benefit from the new storage facility.

While relatively small, the project had big impact in a number of areas.

First, it demonstrated the important role of insurance in securing financing for two vital sectors in African economies – the agricultural sector, which is comprised largely of SMES that together account for 75% of employment on the continent.

The project also helped to increase the value of exports, a challenge faced by many commodity producing countries in Africa. With proper storage facilities Zambian farmers will now be able to harvest, dry and store their crops while negotiating better prices. This is in sharp contrast to previous practise, where fear of crop spoilage would force them to sell crops at reduced rates.

Speaking after the awards ceremony, George Otieno, ATI’s Chief Executive Officer commented, “This award reflects the hard work and dedication of the entire ATI team. ATI has been working quietly behind the scenes to give banks the confidence to lend more - so far this year we’ve provided cover on bank funded projects worth over $600 million. This project in Zambia is a good example of how ATI’s strategy is improving the business climate for SMEs on the ground in Africa.”

A panel of distinguished experts screened the submissions. These included:

Dr. John Purchase, CEO of the Agricultural Business Chamber,which represents the interests of members at the national, continental and international levels;
Paul Runge, the Managing Director of Africa Project Access, a consultancy that specialises in the provision of early alert of projects in the agribusiness sector in Africa;
Hubert Danso, CEO and Vice Chairman of Ai, who advises governments, pension funds, donors and companies on investment strategies in Africa and who was instrumental in establishing the NEPAD business group;
Dr. Bamanga Tukur, the Chairman of the Africa Practise Group, the Executive President of the African Business Roundtable and Chairman of the NEPAD Business Group;
M’Hamed Cheriif, the Head of ACP Business Climate, an organisation providing technical assistance for improving the business climate in Africa.

 The panel selected winners in 11 categories covering Best Structured Trade Finance Initiative, Export Credit Initiative, Development Finance Initiative, Agro-processing Initiative, Agribusiness Investment Initiative, Minister of Agriculture, Trade Finance Bank, Agriculture Commodities Initiative, Biofuels Initiative, Agribusiness Development Bank and Agribusiness Fund. The list of winners included the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) of South Africa, which took the honours for the Development Finance Initiative of the Year, and the African Export-Import Bank, which won the category of the Best Trade Finance Bank of the Year. 

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