Mozambique to have bank to support agriculture

21 September 2006

Maputo, Mozambique, 21 Sept – Mozambique came a step closer to creating a specialized bank to support agriculture on Wednesday when the Netherlands government agreed to help fund the still unnamed bank with a euros 1 million donation, officials said.

Dutch ambassador Lidi Remmelzvaal formalized an accord with the new bank’s two principal shareholders, Mozambique’s Company for Management and Finance for Promotion of Small and Medium Enterprises (Gapi) and its strategic partner, Rabobank of the Netherlands.

A commission to oversee the setting up of the new bank has also been set up consisting of representatives from the Mozambican and Dutch government, as well as Gapi, Rabobank and Novib – one of the main development agencies in the Netherlands.

The new bank results from lengthy negotiations that began in 2002.

Gapi’s executive director, Antonio Souto, said it was originally planned to create the new bank just to serve Mozambique’s northern provinces where there are practically no private banks.

“But owing to positive reaction from both the Mozambican government and our partners, we decided to proceed with a more ambitions project at a national level”, explained Souto.

Some of the characteristics of the new bank were decided at a meeting August in Oslo, such as its shareholder structure. Rabobank will have a 30.7 percent stake in the venture, in partnership with three other shareholders: Gapi (29.3 percent) and German development bank KfW and Norfund of Norway, both with a 20 percent stake.

However, Souto said he hoped Mozambican investors will gradually acquire a majority shareholding in the new bank over the next 10 years. It is expected that the bank will be launched mid-2007 and will established nationwide five years later, he added.

The bank’s start-up equity will be US$ 7 million, which will later increase to US$ 10 million. (macauhub)