The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has signed a deal with Uganda to open its East African branch in Kampala.
Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni and Benedict Oramah, Afrexim bank president signed the deal which will see Uganda as its fifth branch.
Afrexim bank which is a pan-continent investment lender has other branches in Abuja, Cairo, Abidjan and Harare.
Prof Oramah said that the opening of an East Africa branch would deepen the bank’s involvement with the region’s institutions.
The Kampala branch will start operating end of October 2019 and will serve 11 countries: Uganda, Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi and Comoros.
Kudakwashe Matereke Afrexim East Africa chief operating officer said it is in talks with Uganda’s National Social Security Fund (NSSF) to have it join others in the region like Rwanda’s social board to become one of the lender’s institutional investors.
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The NSSF managing director Richard Byarugaba said, “Among the things we are considering is due diligence on whether we can invest money in this institution.”
Afrexim is looking to expand both its portfolio and relations with the region by recruiting more institutions to the bank. It has different classes of shareholders which includes African ministries of finance and central banks.
If the Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority (URBRA) approves such an investment, it will provide a window for NSSF to invest some of its assets worth $3 billion in ventures outside East Africa.
Ugandan laws currently do not allow NSSF to invest money in institutions outside of East Africa. This sometimes makes it hard for NSSF to diversify its investments portfolio which according to URBRA chief executive officer Martin Nsubuga said it protects savers’ money.
Afrexim’s investment portfolio in East Africa includes $155 million to Rwanda for the construction of Radisson Blue hotel and construction of the Kigali Convention Center, $2 billion to Kenya airways and an undisclosed loan to Tanzania for the construction of the standard gauge railway.
In July this year, Afrexim was included in the 10 largest stocks by the Stock Exchange of Mauritius (SEM) which ranks the bank as SEM’s third best-performing stock on a year-to-date basis in 2019, with a performance of 26.5 per cent.