The core business of the East African Development Bank is to support the economic development of its member states by acting as a financier, adviser, and partner to both public and private sector enterprises within the member states.
The Bank’s main product has been medium-term and long-term financing of projects. It gives priority to professionally-managed projects that demonstrate the potential for high growth and for generating substantial socioeconomic benefits and promoting regional integration.
The Bank also offers supplementary products such as asset leasing, equity financing, and short-term finance for working capital, trade finance and real estate development finance.
Real Estate & Property Development
EADB provides financial assistance to entrepreneurs within member states aimed at development of real estate and property in varied forms including office blocks, shopping malls and residential properties both for rentals and outright purchase.
EADB may offer guarantees to clients as long as there is an underlying project. Key focus is to provide mechanisms of extra-budgetary funding and assistance for infrastructure projects particularly those that may not have access to commercial banks and insurers, primarily owing to a long project term, country risk, an inadequate return rate, or a limited local banking sector.
EADB provides a range of consulting services to businesses that require specialised advice on capital formation, cash flow and wealth management as well as project implementation and management
The Bank provides loans to projects directly, through syndicates and other forms of co-financing. The Bank’s core activity is direct project lending to medium and large scale enterprises, with emphasis on export-oriented projects. Core business is mainly derived from opportunities arising in productive and service sectors. It is envisaged that over the five years (2011 – 2015) the economy of EAC member states will grow by an average of over 5% per annum.
The sectors which are considered to have good potential for core business are manufacturing, agro-processing, tourism, construction and mining. Core business opportunities are expected to arise in expansion and modernisation of existing industries as well as in start-ups involving light manufacturing of consumer and intermediate goods.
The Bank provides asset lease financing to carefully selected businesses particularly in construction, transport and agriculture sectors to acquire equipment. The Bank retains title to the equipment for the period of the lease.The Bank started asset leasing operations in 1996 and has over the years built considerable expertise in the product.
Asset lease financing is suitable for local businessmen and professionals whose concern is acquisition of movable and identifiable equipment and who do not want to tie up their cash flows in outright purchase. The leased equipment forms the primary security for the lending.
EADB commenced trade finance activities (whose focus is on export finance) in 1997. The product has been useful to the commodity exporters, particularly in coffee and cotton subsectors. Trade finance activities also provide a standard and secure mode of disbursement to enterprises wishing to acquire specialised capital goods with the proceeds of the loan funds.
Key features include commercial documentary letters of credit and Standby Letters of Credit origination, confirmation, amendments and payments to support international and regional trade.
Equity, Venture Capital and Quasi-equity
Socially and economically important projects may lack the scale or capacity required to qualify for commercial finance. They may also be nascent projects or technologies which are yet to mature within the markets and cannot therefore pass the “proof of concept” tests required to qualify for debt finance.
Further, a large number of enterprises within the Bank’s member states require equity or venture capital rather than debt funds, due to undercapitalisation and lack of appropriately priced resources. Given the significant demand from such companies and the specialised nature of the support required to enable such businesses to become viable, the Bank will render support through carefully selected equity and venture funds.
EADB also plays a catalytic role by attracting other development partners to invest in such projects. In exceptional cases, the Bank invests directly into larger enterprises with significant social and economic impact subject to a clearly defined investment period exit mechanism.
Lines of Credit
Small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) provide significant opportunities for accelerating economic growth within the region. Owing to limitations of scale, SMEs may find themselves excluded from mainstream loan markets. Due to lack of appropriate delivery channels, the Bank may not be able to reach the SMEs directly.
The Bank therefore provides Lines of credit to national and regional development finance institutions (DFIs), micro finance institutions (MFIs) and local banks to enhance its support to SMEs and new projects.
A key feature of infrastructure financing is that it leads to creation of public benefit or quasi-public benefit assets. Owing to massive resources required, the Bank participates in the development and financing of infrastructure projects in partnership with other entities. This takes the form of syndications or co-financings. The Bank endeavours to influence the structuring of infrastructure projects for cost effectiveness and protection of public interest.
Because infrastructure facilities are mainly created for social benefit and not necessarily for private gain, in the past they have been largely financed by governments. Member countries’ structural reforms have now emphasised the importance of private investments in these areas, thus opening up new opportunities for the EADB’s core business with the sub-regional co-operation generating opportunities in various sectors including telecommunications, energy and transport.
Capital Markets Development
EADB has been intimately involved in the development of regional capital markets since the mid-90s and is the pioneer issuer of bonds in East Africa, which are now commonly issued in the region. The Bank endeavours to develop new instruments for the purpose of raising funds and deepening the capital markets.
It also supports the capital markets through direct equity participation or financing of organisations that provide infrastructure for capital markets or through sponsorship of programmes and activities that help in development and deepening of the capital markets.
Implementing Unit for Regional Projects
EADB is the only regional development finance institution (DFI) for East Africa and has over the years developed expertise in mobilisation of resources and structuring of region wide projects. Its standing as an institution of the community and experience within the region has positioned it to serve as an implementing agency for regional projects and programmes for the East African Community or for individual member states. The Bank will continue to develop dedicated skills for public private partnership (PPP) activities and public finance initiatives (PFI) initiatives that can be employed for national or regional projects.