The trade finance arm of Africa Merchant Capital (AMC) has hired Richard Ngumi as a transactor.

Having started in the London-based front-office role last week, Ngumi reports to AMC Trade Finance (AMCTF) commercial manager Paul Levy, and is tasked with originating trade finance deals into and out of Africa.

Ngumi moves to AMC from renewable energy firm Dream EP Global Energy Kenya, where he had been serving as a consultant for over two years.

He worked as a freelance finance consultant for nearly 18 months prior to this, having held a number of different roles at Stanbic Bank and Standard Bank – in investment banking, as well as trade and commodity finance – in the five years prior to this.

Kenton Hartwell, general manager for AMCTF, says that his unit now has 13 employees, based in both London and South Africa.

There are plans for further expansion this year, with Hartwell telling GTR that the appointment is the first of a “number of hires” in 2021.

Since providing its first transaction in 2016, AMCTF has completed a number of deals in African countries such as Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria, where it has facilitated exports and imports for soft commodities including cocoa, cashew and coffee.

Ngumi’s hire follows news in December that AMCTF had secured a US$6.5mn investment from Zebu Investment Partners (ZIP), a private equity fund which works to boost food security on the continent.

Hartwell notes that AMCTF has had a “couple of challenging years”, but that the alternative trade finance provider has put in place a revised strategy in the wake of ZIP’s investment.

The new approach will be broadly similar, with AMCTF still focusing on providing finance to SME exporters and importers on the continent, on a transactional basis. There will, however, be a greater focus on food and agriculture.

According to Hartwell, AMCTF will now work to gradually build the loan book “up to US$200mn over the next five years”.

This week, AMCTF also announced that Anne-Marie Woolley has joined its credit committee as an independent member and consultant.

Woolley has been working as a trade finance consultant for the past few years, having previously held senior commodity and trade finance roles at Nedbank London, Standard Bank, Standard Chartered and Barclays.

The credit committee works to evaluate and opine on the risk and suitability of new transactions to be undertaken by AMCTF, and currently has four members, including Woolley, Andre Strydom, as well as AMC co-founders Cobus Visagie and Jan Louis van den Berg.