The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has raised US$500mn in a dual-tranche syndicated term loan from a group of 12 mainly Asian lenders.

Standard Chartered and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) act as co-ordinators, initial mandated lead arrangers (MLAs) and bookrunners.

Joining as MLAs are the Bank of Communications (including both the London and Prague branches) and China Construction Bank. The lead arrangers are the Bank of China and China Citic Bank, while the Taiwanese Mega International Commercial Bank joins as arranger.

Participating banks are Chang Hwa Commercial Bank, Taiwan Cooperative Bank and The Shanghai Commercial and Savings Bank.

Standard Chartered is facility agent while ICBC is documentation agent.

The loan is split into two tranches, one with a tenor of three years and the other lasting five. It will be used for general corporate purposes.

The facility was originally launched at US$400mn and was “substantially” oversubscribed before being scaled back to US$500mn.

Afreximbank’s senior executive vice-president, Denys Denya, says the success of the deal is a reflection of the critical importance of regional investors from Asia to Afreximbank’s fundraising programmes. He notes that the deal recognises the strong trade and investment ties between Asia and the broader Africa region.

This is the second time in a year Afreximbank has tapped East Asian banks, having signed a US$400mn loan with the China Development Bank in August last year to help improve access to trade finance for SMEs on the continent.

The news comes as Afreximbank releases its annual reports on African trade.

Afreximbank chief economist Yemi Kale says in a release from the bank that intra-African trade grew by 3.2% in 2023, while total trade by the continent contracted by 6.3% over the same period.

He says “ongoing global challenges undermined the performance of Africa’s trade” but that these figures are “reflective of the resilience of the African economy and the potential impact of the African Continental Free Trade Area’s single market […] as a tool to protect from global shocks”.