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South Africa to get majority stakes in African Investment Bank

South Africa, the richest country in Africa, will get the largest share of the African Investment Bank, which is expected to become operational after the signing of a final agreement endorsed here by African finance ministers.

African ministers of finance and economy, who met here Wednesday, approved a new protocol, establishing the African Investment Bank and set out to examine the critical details pertaining to its management and operational aspects, PANA exclusively reports.

The Bank is expected to be operational as soon as November this year, ministers told PANA, and it will have an initial capital of US$4 billion, but its full capitalization is expected to be at US$25 billion on full subscription, according to Farhat Bengdara, the Governor of the Central Bank of Libya.

“This bank will be complimentary to the role of the African Development Bank (ADB). It will work in full consultation with the Bank,” Bengdara, who heads the expert steering committee overseeing the implementation of the agreements setting the Bank, told PANA.

South Africa, with the largest economy in terms of the Gross National Product (GNP), will be allocated at least US$4.4 billion, as part of its shares in the new bank.

Nigeria will receive the second highest number of shares worth US$2.7 billion.

The other major shareholders are Egypt, with some US$2.1 billion worth of shares to be released to them once the bank begins its operations.

Algeria, Africa’s third largest economy, is slated to receive US$2 billion in shares subscription.

Libya, the country designated to host the new Bank, will subscribe US$998 million worth of shares, allocated on the strength of its economy.

The other notable shareholders are Sudan, with US$873 million, Angola, US$733 million, Tunisia US$530 million and Kenya US$469 million.

Africa’s smallest economy, Sao Tome and Principe, will contribute US$2 million while cash-strapped Zimbabwe is expected to subscribe for US$33 million, much less than war-torn Somalia’s US$39 million. Senegal will contribute US$180 million.

The African Union (AU) Executive Council, comprising foreign ministers, meet on the 28-29 January to consider the protocol setting up the new bank following its adoption Wednesday.

Cameroonian Budget Minister Pierre Titi, who chaired the African ministers of finance and economy meeting, told PANA that the adoption of the protocol setting up the bank was a crucial step in its formulation and paves the way for its establishment earlier as possible.

Libya, the bank’s host country, has indicated that the bank could be operational by November this year, once the African states approve the statutes, setting it up.

The ministers asked for more time to further examine the draft statutes of the Bank.

“There is still some work to be done on the statutes of the Bank, but this is a minor issue,” the minister told PANA in an interview after chairing a day-long meeting.

African countries will re-examine the statutes of the bank and return their comments to the AU Commission by earlier May, to allow for more time for the re-drafting of the bank statutes for approval at the annual finance ministers meeting in November.


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