The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has entered an partnership with the Russian Export Centre (REC) to collaborate on African aviation projects.

As well as exploring opportunities to develop Africa’s aviation industry, the two will also work together to support Africa’s mining, agro-processing, railways and metals sectors.

As part of the new partnership, REC will organise business missions to Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria to meet the authorities and key stakeholders in the local aviation industries and to discuss development plans and identify areas where they require funding and technical assistance.

“Given the limitations of road and rail infrastructure in Africa, the aviation sector is critical to Africa’s trade, growth and development objectives. As such, improving air transport infrastructure across Africa has become a priority area our bank,” says Afreximbank president Benedict Oramah, pointing to a study highlighting the high sensitivity of African trade to transport costs: a 10% reduction in transport costs would increase trade by 25%.

He added that Afreximbank will also explore ways to expand the partnership with REC to other sectors. The bank, he says, already has a pipeline of transactions with Russian firms in the mining, metals and railway sector that are currently under review for potential financing.

The collaboration was formally agreed during a meeting between Oramah and Anna Belyaeva, managing director at the Russian Agency for Export Credit and Investment Insurance (Exiar), a subsidiary of REC, which is owned by the State Corporation Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs (Vnesheconombank). Commenting on the partnership, Belyaeva says her institution is “fully committed to a mutually beneficial collaboration arrangement”.

In January, REC became the latest international financial institution to join Afreximbank as a shareholder.