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ADB signs $15m transaction guarantee facility with Zimbabwe’s NMB Bank

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The African Development Bank (ADB) has signed a $15 million Trade Finance Transaction Guarantee Facility with Zimbabwe’s NMB Bank aimed at unlocking trade finance opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as agri-business and trade distribution value chains in the country.

At the signing ceremony held at the NMB Bank Headquarters in Harare, ADB Country Manager for Zimbabwe, Moono Mupotola, signed on behalf of the Bank while NMB Bank Chief Executive Officer, Gerald Gore, signed on behalf of the bank.

Speaking shortly after the brief ceremony, Mupotola said the African Development Bank’s board had earlier approved the project in November 2023, with the facility offering up to 100% coverage to confirming banks, effectively mitigating non-payment risks linked to NMB Bank’s trade transactions on a per-transaction basis.

“It is tailored to support trade between Zimbabwe and other African countries and with overseas markets by significantly diminishing the risk for international financial institutions actively engaging in trade finance activities with Zimbabwean businesses,” Mupotola said.

“The African Development Bank is committed to supporting the development of the private sector in Zimbabwe. This is a significant step forward in supporting the growth and competitiveness of Zimbabwean businesses.

“By mitigating risk and facilitating access to trade finance, we are empowering SMEs and local corporates to participate more actively in regional and international trade,” she said.

Also speaking, Gore emphasized the agreement’s importance for Zimbabwe’s economic development.

“This facility will be instrumental in enabling NMB to provide crucial trade finance support to a wider range of Zimbabwean businesses. This will not only unlock new trade opportunities but also contribute to job creation and economic growth.

“SMEs often face challenges in accessing trade finance compared to their larger counterparts. This initiative directly addresses this gap, fostering a more vibrant and inclusive business environment in Zimbabwe,” Gore said.

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Kenya’s Fidelity Shield Insurance launches digital health coverage product ‘My Afya Shield’

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Kenya’s Fidelity Shield Insurance has launched a new digital health coverage scheme known as
‘My Afya Shield’ which is designed to transform healthcare access in the country.

The new product, according to Richard Marisin, Managing Director of Fidelity Shield Insurance, is an initiative that “reinforces Fidelity’s commitment to prioritizing preventive healthcare and enhancing wellness among its members.”

Marisin noted that “My Afya Shield” offers an extensive range of benefits, including access to treatments, vaccines, counseling services, mental wellness support, rehabilitation services, and personalized wellness programs.

“Notably, it includes coverage for alcohol and drug abuse rehabilitation as a standard feature, along with regular health check-ups.

“Underwritten by Fidelity Shield Insurance, My Afya Shield is accessible through a digital platform that seamlessly connects Fidelity members with a nationwide network of healthcare providers.

“Users of My Afya Shield can initiate treatments from the user-friendly digital interface, monitor benefits and limits in real-time, and easily locate and access care at healthcare providers.

“They also have the flexibility to add family members as dependents. The platform further facilitates efficient claims processing and timely payments to healthcare providers, improving the overall healthcare experience.

“We are happy to introduce My Afya Shield as a health coverage product designed to address the evolving needs of our members. This launch solidifies our commitment to delivering comprehensive and technology-driven solutions for healthcare access,” Marisin said.

He added that “My Afya Shield” leverages digital technology, allowing customers to conveniently apply for services online and minus the requirement for paper forms.

“My Afya Shield will gain rapid uptake allowing millions of Kenyans to gain comprehensive health coverage, including traditionally uninsured benefits like vaccinations, mental health, counseling, and rehabilitation services,” he added.

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IFC partners SA health-tech group Lenmed Hospital to expand quality healthcare services in Africa

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The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has entered into a partnership with South African health-tech startup, Lenmed Hospital Group, aimed at increasing access to quality healthcare, especially in underserved communities in South Africa, Botswana, Ghana, and Mozambique.

Under the terms of the partnership, IFC will provide Lenmed with an initial investment sum of R200 million senior loan to help help the company expand its healthcare services over the next four years through the acquisition of new facilities, the purchase of medical equipment, and by hiring and training additional medical staff.

Lenmed on its part, will also expand the number of beds in its hospital portfolio from 2,318 to almost 3,000.

Amil Devchand, Lenmed’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), said the IFC’s loan is part of a larger, syndicated loan package with three other South African lenders, Rand Merchant Bank, Ashburton Asset Managers, and ABSA Bank, which runs into a total of R2.5 billion.

“The combined financing will also support Lenmed’s plans to expand into other African countries and help meet the company’s refinancing and working capital requirements,” said Devchand.

“In addition to financing, IFC will also help Lenmed improve its environmental and social standards and ensure sustainability across its operations.

“We are extremely excited to have concluded this significant debt package with IFC and our other funding partners, which underscores the confidence in both our Group and the work that we do.

“This additional capital will allow us to continue driving towards achieving our ambitious growth strategy while, at the same time, fulfilling our core purpose of creating healthier and more prosperous communities.”

Cláudia Conceição, IFC’s Regional Director for Southern Africa who also spoke on the partnership, said:

“Our investment in Lenmed will increase access to quality healthcare in South Africa and in other African countries, enabling more people to access the services they need.

“IFC complements public healthcare efforts by leveraging private sector funding and expertise to increase access and meet growing demand for services.”

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