The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has made a donation of $1.5 million in support of relief efforts for victims of the recent Tropical Cyclone Idai.
Afreximbank’s President, Prof. Benedict Oramah, disclosed this in a statement signed by the bank’s Head of Media, Mr Obi Emekekwue on Thursday in Abuja.
Tropical Cyclone Idai is rated as one of the worst tropical cyclones to affect Africa and the Southern Hemisphere as a whole.
The torrential storm caused catastrophic damage in three African countries: Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, leaving over 700 people dead and hundreds more are missing.
The Afreximbank president disclosed that the Bank’s Board of Directors, while approving the relief package, said the funds would be distributed across the three countries based on the scale of damage each suffered.
He said Afreximbank decided to act on the tragedy, given the scale of the devastation brought about by the tropical cyclone.
According to him, the death toll is expected to exceed 1,000, while the cyclone has affected at least 2.5 million people.
Oramah added that the funds would be disbursed through the national relief agencies of the three countries as they were well-placed to deploy them to the most critical areas of need.
“In addition to the official donation, Afreximbank staff members have launched an initiative to make voluntary contributions to support the relief effort.
“Such donations will be collected and forwarded to the affected countries.
“Afreximbank hopes that by acting, many other African banks and corporations, some of which are its clients, will be encouraged to also contribute to the relief effort,” the President said.
Oramah also disclosed that the bank’s Board of Directors would also send missions to the affected countries to assess the potential for deploying its programmes and facilities in support of the three countries coming out of crisis.
He explained that it was to ameliorate the consequences of events of this nature that Afreximbank launched its Food Emergency Contingent Trade Financing Facility.
This, he stressed, emphasised the urgent need to rapidly deploy the product across that continent.
Afreximbank has a history of intervening in support of African countries in times of crisis.
In November 2014, the Bank contributed one million dollars to the effort to combat the outbreak of the Ebola virus disease, which affected several countries in West Africa.