Founded in 1967 as one of the key institutions of the East African Community, the East African Development Bank has built a reputation as a provider of long term finance for enterprises in East Africa. In a region where demand for long term finance is growing, the Bank has cultivated a diverse client base.
The story of the East African Development Bank has been one of hard work, resilience and vision. It has supported economic growth through lending to business, pioneered equity finance and interceded on policy for the creators of wealth in East Africa, one of Africa’s fastest growing regions.
From its founding in 1967, as a key institution of the East African Community, the EADB has built a proud track record supporting capital projects in both the public and private sectors. It was founded by the original three members of the EAC – Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania – with a mandate to stimulate economic growth and social progress in the region.
The Bank’s shareholding was subsequently expanded with the joining of multilateral development financiers and commercial banks, including the African Development Bank (AfDB); the Netherlands Development Company (FMO); German Investment and Development Company (DEG); SBIC Africa Holdings, Commercial Bank of Africa, Standard Chartered Bank and Barclays Bank Plc as Class B (Institutional) shareholders. In 2008, Rwanda joined as the fourth Class A (Member State) shareholder.
The EADB reached its nadir in 1977 when its parent organisation, the EAC collapsed. During this time, most EAC agencies foundered in the wake of the turmoil occasioned by the disintegration of the EAC. To its credit, the EADB survived, largely by dint of the commitments made by the Member States which were signatories to the EADB Treaty.
That the EADB weathered the collapse of the EAC provided impetus to the shareholders to re-organise and strengthen the mandate of the Bank.
In 1980, EADB was re-established under its own Charter with a broader, more robust mandate in which Member States sought to liberalise and loosen state control. On the operational front, the Bank strengthened its internal operations by decentralising project operations to country offices, which were set up in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.
The decentralisation further enabled the Bank to broaden its reach across the region, giving birth to a new generation of entrepreneurs. What followed was a period of recovery as the Bank could now finance a broader range of enterprises, among them ventures in agriculture, energy and telecommunications.
While from the outset, the EADB built a loan portfolio primarily in the industrial, service and agricultural sectors in the three founder states, it has evolved to become a trailblazer in private equity investment and financing of SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises), which had previously struggled to raise capital from commercial banks.
Today the Bank is poised to facilitate the financing of intra-regional country infrastructure that will further strengthen and foster the integration of the East African economy.