The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has issued the first-ever multi border transit bond in Zambia.
The US$10 million transit bond was issued in favour of Innovate General Insurance (IGI) of Zambia and is expected to provide counter guarantees and boost IGIs capacity to issue bonds to Clearing and Forwarding Agents in Zambia.
This was issued under the Afreximbank African Collaborative Transit Guarantee Scheme (AATGS), designed by the bank to promote the seamless movement of goods across multiple national customs borders as a means of improving efficiency and shortening the time for border clearances.
This is according to a statement issued from Cairo, Egypt and made available to Zambia Monitor in Lusaka on Tuesday.
Bank President and Chairman prof, Benedict Oramah, said this milestone was a realisation of the aspirations of Africa’s foreleaders about six decades ago at the inaugural meeting of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU).
“We have, through this breakthrough, inched closer to the emergence of a single continental integrated market and dismantling the 110 borders that divided the continent into atomistic countries,” Oramah said.
The statement further indicated that the US$1 billion Collaborative Guarantee Scheme is expected
to accelerate cross-border trade in Africa and save the continent about US$300 million annually in transit costs.
It stated that as a Pan-African Multilateral Financial Institution, Afreximbank was able to provide capacity to national sureties to enable them to issue bonds at affordable rates and facilitate intra-African trade under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
Being one of the AfCFTA-flagship initiatives, the Collaborative Guarantee Scheme is being implemented in partnership with the AfCFTA Secretariat as well as Regional Economic Communities.
The facility to IGI, which is expected to facilitate the transportation of goods across its almost 5,700 km of borders with its eight neighbouring countries, is a realisation of the broader partnership between Afreximbank and COMESA Council of Regional Customs Transit Guarantee (RCTG-Council)
Innovate General Insurance Director, Luwa Luwabelwa, said: “ the capacity provided by Afreximbank is timely and will allow the issuance of more affordable transit bonds to its clients, who are Clearing and Freight Forwarding Agents and most of them are Small and Medium Enterprises.”
Also talking about the partnership, Zambia Freight and Forwarders Association (ZAFFA) President, Trodson Keith Chemu, thanked the Bank for the first-of-its-kind intervention to support the customs brokers and avail affordable transit bonds to facilitate the movement of goods in transit.
He added that the freight forwarder industry in Zambia was working tirelessly to implement a Regional Electronic Cargo Tracking System to provide real-time monitoring of goods in transit to ensure the transit bonds issued are protected.