Afreximbank will provide an €18.2mn credit facility to Senegal-based Groupe Futurs Media (GFM) for the import of equipment to be used in the expansion of its packaging division.

The five-year credit facility carries a 12-month grace period. It will be utilised either through letters of credit issued by Banque Atlantique of Senegal, which will be confirmed by Afreximbank, or by direct payment to the equipment supplier.

This is the first time that the Afrexim has invested in a sector that did not involve tangible products that could be put in a warehouse and moved by known businesses, says the bank’s president Jean-Louis Ekra.

GFM is a principally a media group, involved with newspapers, radio and television, but is looking to build a fully automated printing and packaging plant to expand its presence in the local market, given Senegal’s growing reliance on imported packaging materials.

The bank decided to grant the facility because it is responding to an important need for packaging within the African export sector where most products are currently shipped in bulk without packaging, Ekra explains.

Mamadou Ibra Kane, managing director of GFM, comments: “The facility would enable GFM to become the largest packaging company in the West Africa region. The company’s goal was to target the 40% of Senegal’s annual €140mn packaging turnover which is currently being accounted for by imports.”