By Modupe Gbadeyanka
This piece of news will definitely excite diamond manufacturers and polishing companies operating in Botswana.
As you read this, Stanbic Bank Botswana, a member of Standard Bank Group; the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the US government’s development finance institution; and Botswana Finance LLC, a subsidiary of Lazare Kaplan International (LKI), have signed a $125 million loan guaranty, which will encourage and support lending to miners, while allowing the organizations to share credit risk.
In keeping with Standard Bank’s objective of driving growth in Africa, this loan guaranty will help diversify Botswana’s economy, drive the development of the local financial sector and give local companies access to financing.
Stanbic Bank has been lending to diamond beneficiation companies in Botswana for over ten years and this facility will support and allow us to expand the availability of financing for the sector.
“With the support of OPIC financing, this project will keep the value-adding process of the diamond supply chain in Botswana, promoting local job creation, diversifying economic growth, and bringing global trade opportunities,” said OPIC President and Chief Executive Officer Ray W. Washburne who recently visited the country. “The project will have a significant impact in local communities and further the country’s economic development.”
Samuel Minta, acting Chief Executive Officer of Stanbic Bank Botswana said, “We expect continued growth in Botswana’s diamond beneficiation to have positive residual effects on several sectors, including electricity, finance and business. We are proud that this loan guaranty will play a strong role in the continued economic growth of the country.”
Leon Tempelsman, President of LKI stated, “Stanbic Bank Botswana and OPIC share our vision of how the diamond industry can support constructive economic growth in the countries and communities where it operates. We commend both OPIC and Stanbic Bank Botswana for their commitment to the next stage of development and diversification of the economy of Botswana.”
This is the second tranche of a $250 million OPIC loan guaranty – the first of which was fulfilled by Barclays Bank of Botswana in 2016.
Announced in July, OPIC’s Connect Africa initiative seeks to invest $1 billion over three years to projects that support telecommunications and internet access, value chains that connect producers of raw materials to end users, and critical infrastructure, such as roads, railways, ports, and airports.
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