The Eastern and Southern Africa Trade and Development bank a.k.a. PTA is set to disburse USD 300 million funding for two giant, state-run enterprises—Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) and Ethiopian Airlines (Ethiopian); and is preparing to extended new line of credits for tourism, manufacturing and the like.
In an exclusive interview with The Reporter, Admassu Tadesse, President and Chief Executive Officer of PTA, said that only few weeks ago the bank has approved USD 100 million in new funding to Ethiopian in addition the USD 200 million that CBE is set to receive from the regional development bank. It is to be recalled that in late 2013, PTA had extended USD 90 million for Ethiopian and Habesha Cement SC, the later taking 40 million.
Asked whether PTA is interested in lending more to the Ethiopian private sector, Admassu said that the bank is open to work with private sector operators so long as they meet the loan approval criteria of the bank. In addition, he also noted that the regulations of the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) with regard to external lending which prioritizes the export sectors is another factor that will determine the chances of local firms accessing credit from the regional bank.
NBE requires most of the foreign currency nominated borrowing to go directly to the exporting firms.
However, he also expressed the bank’s interest in working with sectors such as power, agribusiness and tourism, mainly focusing on hotel projects in Ethiopia. “We are looking at a range of projects like power, agribusiness, and some other projects in the tourism sector for instance the hotel business. We do have very strong projects in the pipeline. Currently, we are in the process of evaluating,” Admassu explained. “We are looking at few selected manufacturing projects which we know to have export capacity. We haven’t signed the loan contracts yet for several of these projects. But some of these loan negotiations are at the very advanced stages.”
According to Admassu, the cross-border bank wishes to work with CBE and other stakeholders to introduce a new diaspora bond which will be availed for both Ethiopia descendants and African diaspora across the world. Previously, PTA scored success stories in launching diaspora bond to the Zimbabwean diaspora where the bank backed the bond by extending guarantee. He said similar arrangements are being considered for Ethiopia.
Uniting some 20 or so countries as shareholders, the four-billion-dollar PTA bank is expanding into the eastern and southern Africa where Mozambique, South Sudan and Madagascar are expected to be the latest countries joining the bank. By way of raising more capital funds, PTA has been approaching pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and insurance companies long term savings. Furthermore, PTA has been able to pull financial resources from European institutions lately. According to Admassu, the European Investment Bank (EIB) had recently extended USD 80 million which PTA looks at investing on Africa’s Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The German development bank a.k.a. KfW also has a link with PTA for more funding, the president explained.
Admassu is the youngest boss to the regional development bank, who managed to raise the total balance sheet of the bank from one billion to four billion dollars since his joining the bank.