Government in partnership with the private sector is looking for funds to subscribe to the African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI), Industry and Commerce minister, Mike Bimha has said.
By TARISAI MANDIZHA
ATI is Africa’s export credit agency which provides political risk and trade credit risk insurance products with the objective of reducing the business risk and cost of doing business in Africa.
ATI’s main goal is to help increase investments into African member countries and two-way trade flows between Africa and the world. They facilitate exports, foreign direct investment into and trade flows within the continent.
Speaking at the Mandel/Gibs 2015 economic outlook symposium on Thursday, Bimha said subscribing to ATI was a positive development as it would ensure Zimbabwe had an insurance cover under ATI, opening the doors for both investment and trade.
“In the past we were looking at putting together $7,5 million as a down payment. At the moment we are finalising our discussions with the Africa Development Bank and also the private sector,” Bimha said.
He said the country’s perceived risk was a major cost driver of interest rates and hence the need to address this.
“Interestingly, when I was in Addis Ababa a few days ago I met the officials from the African Development Bank and ATI who agreed that they now had packages to collaborate with the private sector. We should be seeing Zimbabwe becoming a member of the Africa Trade Insurance in less than six months,” Bimha said.
“It is my hope that government, in partnership with the private sector, will be able to source the required money to enable Zimbabwe to subscribe to ATI, which is going to reduce Zimbabwe’s perceived risk factors thereby attracting potential investors.”
ATI was launched in 2001 with the financial and technical support of the World Bank and the backing of seven African countries.
Since 2003, it has supported trade and investments worth over $13 billion across the continent.
ATI is currently conducting business in Benin, Malawi, Burundi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Madagascar and Zambia.