The African Development Bank (AfDB), a multilateral institution that provides loans and grants to governments and private companies in Africa, recently approved a seven-year line of credit in the amount of USD 300 million to FirstRand Limited, a financial service provider based in South Africa that operates in seven African countries. The line of credit will be “mobilized through the establishment of bond issuance programs in the domestic capital markets and the issuance of local currency denominated bonds.” The local currencies are to include the Ghanaian cedi, the Kenyan shilling, the Mozambique metical, the Nigerian naira, the Tanzanian shilling and the Zambian kwacha. These funds are intended to contribute to African economic development, employment, government revenues, local capital markets and regional integration. According to Timothy Turner, director of AfDB’s private sector department, “with this line of credit, the AfDB is introducing a new and innovative form of local-currency financing. This structure can be replicated by other banks in Africa to gain access to funding in African currencies thereby reducing unnecessary currency mismatches and deepening the local capital markets.” FirstRand Treasurer Andries du Toit reportedly stated that these funds not only provide customers with access to local funding but will also “contribute to growth in corporate activity, which in turn supports [FirstRand’s] African expansion strategy.” 
Founded in 1998, FirstRand offers financial services through subsidiaries that operate under the First National Bank brand in Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, and Zambia. As of June 30, 2012, First Rand Limited reports total assets of ZAR 770 billion (USD 87 billion), return on equity of 20.7 percent and return on assets of 1.73 percent.
The AfDB was established in 1964, and its shareholders consist of 77 member countries, including 53 African countries to which it commits an approximate total of USD 3 billion annually.
By Sarah Benali, Research Associate
About FirstRand Limited
Founded in 1998, FirstRand Limited is a financial services provider based in Johannesburg, South Africa. It offers banking services through its subsidiaries: First National Bank (FNB) Botswana, FNB Lesotho, FNB Namibia, FNB South Africa, FNB Swaziland, FNB Tanzania, and FNB Zambia. As of June 30, 2012, FirstRand Limited reports total assets of ZAR 770 billion (USD 87 billion), return on equity of 20.7 percent and return on assets of 1.73 percent.
About African Development Bank (AfDB)
Established in 1964, the African Development Bank (AfDB) provides loans and grants to governments and private companies in Africa. Owned and funded by member governments, the bank has a mandate to reduce poverty and promote sustainable development. AfDB shareholders consist of 77 member countries, including 53 African countries to which it commits an approximate total of USD 3 billion annually. Donald Kaberuka serves as president of AfDB as of 2012.
Sources and Additional Resources
 AfDB Press Release: “AfDB Extends the Equivalent of USD 300 million to FirstRand Bank Limited to Support Projects Across Africa,” December 2012, http://www.afdb.org/en/news-and-events/article/afdb-extends-the-equivalent-of-usd-300-million-to-firstrand-bank-limited-to-support-projects-across-africa-10113/
MicroCapital.org story: “MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: African Development Bank (AfDB) Microfinance Capacity Building Fund (MCBF) Offering up to $500k per Institution,” November 26, 2012, http://www.microcapital.org/microcapital-brief-african-development-bank-afdb-microfinance-capacity-building-fund-mcbf-offering-up-to-500k-per-institution/
MicroCapital.org story: “MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: First National Bank Namibia Releases Mobile Money Service,” November 21, 2012, http://www.microcapital.org/microcapital-brief-first-national-bank-namibia-releases-mobile-money-service/
MicroCapital Universe Profile: FirstRand Limited
MicroCapital Universe Profile: African Development Bank (AfDB)
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