Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Ecobank rolls out $150m letter of credit lines

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Ecobank Zimbabwe has rolled out over $150 million worth of letters of credit lines into the Zimbabwean market in the last eight months as the bank moves to support the economy.
BY BUSINESS REPORTER
Ecobank Zimbabwe board chairman, Fortunate Chisango said yesterday the move was with support from its international parentage and foreign partners. Ecobank Zimbabwe is a unit of Ecobank Transnational International, a banking group with operations in 36 African countries.
“This saw the bank financing a significant part of command [agriculture] imports, accounting for almost 100% of fertiliser imports,” Chisango said at the launch of a business incubation initiative in which the bank supports small to medium enterprises.
The bank, Chisango said, is funding almost 100% of the raw materials used in the manufacture of cooking oil and 80% of fuel imports testament of its commitment to support the economy.
“To evidence this commitment even further, we are concluding structures to roll out an additional $45 million into the Zimbabwean market, to fund the import of critical implements for our businesses,” he said.
The incubation hub launched yesterday, the Emerald Ecobank Business Club, will assist emerging businesses to grow and become large corporates, according to Heresy Herry, the bank’s head of SMEs. He said the bank would support SMEs that are compliant with regulatory authorities such as the National Social Security Authority and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, sound bookkeeping practices and evidence of high level of integrity, among others.
Herry said Emerald Club members would enjoy benefits such as preferential treatment in accessing foreign currency to buy equipment and the bank would provide a networking forum where the SME meets potential clients.
Chisango was hopeful the business incubation initiative would create the next Econet Wireless or Delta.
Jesimen Chipika, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe deputy governor lauded Ecobank for assisting SMEs adding the sector was a force to reckon with and “the more we accept and work with it, the more the economy will grow”.