Afreximbank, Thelo DB renew partnership to develop railways in Africa

Prof. Benedict Oramah, President & Chairman-Afreximbank; and Mr. Ronnie Ntuli, Chairman Board of Directors-Thelo DB, displaying signed documents after the signing ceremony

African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has renewed a partnership agreement with South Africa-based Thelo DB Proprietary Limited (Thelo DB).

The two have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to support railway corridor and network development and operations, including the opportunity to expand infrastructure and enhance operational efficiencies of existing networks.

The MoU, which was first entered into in 2019, aims to promote trade and investment flows on the continent through coordinated intervention in Africa’s railway sector.

The MoU was signed on the side-lines of the recently concluded Africa Investment Forum 2022 (AIF) in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.

Under terms of the MoU, Thelo DB will review each railway project from a technical perspective and provide technical solutions. Afreximbank will consider the diagnostic technical and feasibility analysis undertaken by Thelo DB, and based on that propose financial and advisory solutions to owners of the railway infrastructure.

In the past 3 years, Afreximbank and Thelo DB have obtained an in-depth understanding of the continent’s railway ecosystem that has culminated in the development of a bespoke first-of-a-kind railway solution well-suited to the continent’s railway needs. This solution is being deployed in Ghana to develop the Western Railway Corridor project, under a Railway Management Agreement executed on 22nd August 2022.

Under the MoU, Afreximbank and Thelo DB intend to replicate and roll-out this solution across the continent.

Mr. Ronnie Ntuli, Chairman, Board of Directors-Thelo DB said: “We are both proud and excited to renew our Memorandum of Understanding with African Export Import Bank.  This signing provides Thelo DB with the unique opportunity to further deepen our working relationship with Africa’s pre-eminent trade finance institution and thus provide integrated technical and financing solutions for development of the continent’s railway sector on a sustainable basis. In turn, the partnership presents a much-needed intervention for infrastructure development, freight and passenger transportation solutions, trade, training and skills transfer, economic development, and regional integration.”

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Prof. Benedict Oramah, President & Chairman-Afreximbank commented: “Today’s renewal of the MoU signed three years ago between Afreximbank and Thelo DB is a reaffirmation of our joint commitment to engineer fit-for-purpose technical and financial solutions that will address the shortcoming of the railway sector in Africa, which has been undermined by inadequate capital structure, inappropriate route designs and operational inefficiencies.

“With this partnership, we will develop a blueprint that can be replicated across the continent through an integrated railway model that constitutes a paradigm-shift away from the traditional railway construction approach. As such, we at Afreximbank intend to advance this novel approach alongside our partner, Thelo DB, by deploying the full suite of financial instruments at our disposal to facilitate the implementation of technically feasible and financially viable railway solutions in a timely manner.”

About Afreximbank

African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is a Pan-African multilateral financial institution mandated to finance and promote intra-and extra-African trade. Afreximbank deploys innovative structures to deliver financing solutions which support transformation of Africa’s trade structure, accelerating industrialisation and intra-regional trade – thereby boosting economic expansion in Africa.

A stalwart supporter of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), Afreximbank has launched a Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) that was adopted by the African Union (AU) as the payment and settlement platform to underpin implementation of the AfCFTA.

Afreximbank is working with the AU and AfCFTA secretariat to develop an Adjustment Facility to support countries in effectively participating in the AfCFTA. At the end of 2021, the Bank’s total assets and guarantees stood at about US$25billion, and its shareholder’s funds amounted to US$4billion. Afreximbank disbursed more than US$51billion between 2016 and 2021. The Bank has ratings assigned by GCR (international scale) (A), Moody’s (Baa1), Japan Credit Rating Agency (JCR) (A-) and Fitch (BBB). The Bank is headquartered in Cairo, Egypt.

About Thelo DB
Thelo DB is an African railway company incorporated between Thelo – an African industrial group, and DB E&C – a subsidiary of Germany’s Deutsche Bahn (DB), which is one of the world’s leading fully-integrated railway conglomerates. Thelo DB has the skills, capacity, experience and expertise to develop, implement and support complex railway projects, and brings global experience and capacity to the African railway market. The company supports the development of new railway corridors, enhancement of operational efficiencies in existing networks, and is able to support railway sector reform.

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