Pan-African bank doles out $1.5 million for Cyclone Idai survivors

Afreximbank would support the countries financially and infrastructurally to help them to recover from the disaster

NEWS CENTRAL, Abuja

The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) on Friday in the Egyptian capital, Cairo donated $1.5 million in support of the relief efforts for victims of the deadly Cyclone Idai.

It also sent a high-level delegation to the Cairo embassies of the three major countries affected; Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, to deliver documents formally conveying the donations to the three governments in southern Africa.

Led by Dr. George Elombi, Executive Vice President in charge of Governance, Legal and Corporate Services, the Afreximbank delegation met with Chris Mapanga, Ambassador of Zimbabwe; Caroline Bwanali-Mussa, Ambassador of Malawi; and Acacio Dinis Chacate, Charge D’Affaires of Mozambique.

Elombi told the envoys that Afreximbank would support the countries financially and infrastructurally to help them to recover from the disaster.

The bank official said that given the significant financial requirements that would be involved in rebuilding the damaged infrastructure in the affected countries, Afreximbank would do its best to provide support to the governments once the areas of need had been identified.

“All of the horticultural industry, the major railway line and the economy, overall, was heavily affected,” Zimbabwe’s Ambassador Mapanga told the delegation while appreciating Afreximbank’s “proactiveness and willingness to assist the country in its time of need.”

Ambassador Mapanga said roads across Zimbabwe were still impassable and that the country was in a state of economic strangulation, with pipelines closed and measures still being taken to divert resources.

Mozambique’s Chacate said his country was deeply touched by the goodwill and assurances of the Pan-African export-import bank. He said that there was a lot of work to be done in Mozambique and pledged that the government would ensure the bank’s assistance reached the families in need.

“This is a comfort and makes us feel that we are not alone. The bank is truly a friend in need,”said Malawi’s Ambassador Bwanali-Mussa who commended Afreximbank for its contribution to the relief effort.

She said the country’s telecommunication lines had been down for over two weeks as a result of the tropical cyclone and that Malawi Telecomm and other agencies would be engaged to identify areas of dire need and to take up Afreximbank’s offer to assist in rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, she said.

Afreximbank President, Professor Benedict Oramah had on Thursday announced the $1.5 million relief package approved by the bank’s Board of Directors for Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi.

Oramah said the bank decided to act on the tragedy due to the scale of the devastation brought about by the tropical cyclone, whose death toll is expected to exceed 1,000 and which had affected at least 2.5 million people.

Afreximbank has a history of intervening in support of African countries in times of crisis. In November 2014, it contributed $1 million to relief efforts to combat the outbreak of the Ebola virus disease which affected several countries in West Africa.

About 3,000sq. kilometers of land in southern Africa have been affected by the Cyclone Idai disaster which has seen thousands of families losing their homes and means of livelihood, leaving over 700 people dead and many families missing.

African governments, the United Nations and international relief organisations are currently providing assistance and battling to save more lives and to cater for displaced victims in the affected countries. 

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