DIRECTOR GENERAL EADB
The East African Development Bank (EADB) is a development finance institution (DFI) with the objective of promoting development in the member countries of the East African Community.
EADB was established in 1967 under the treaty of the then East African Cooperation between Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. Following the breakup of the first East African Community (EAC) in 1977, the bank was re-established under its own charter in 1980.
In 2008, following the admission of Burundi and Rwanda into the new EAC, Rwanda applied and was admitted into the EADB.
Under the new charter, the bank’s role and mandate were reviewed and its operational scope expanded to offers a broad range of financial services in the member states, with the main objective being to strengthen socio-economic development and regional integration.
In November 2014, the Association of African Development Finance Institutions ranked EADB, “the best performing development finance institution in Africa” for the second consecutive year, with an AA rating. The bank was ranked the best out of 33 institutions that submitted to the evaluation then. And as late as October 01, 2021, Moody, one of the leading global credit analysis rating firms, affirmed EADB’s Baa3 stable rating after the completion of the bank’s periodic review of ratings.
According to the EADB, the sectors which are considered in the East Africa region to have good potential for the bank’s core business are manufacturing, agro-processing, tourism, construction and mining. Core business opportunities are expected to arise in expansion and modernisation of existing industries as well as in start-ups involving light manufacturing of consumer and intermediate goods.
The EADB conducts its core business by acting as a financier, adviser, and partner to both public and private sector enterprises within the member states, with the main product being medium-term and long-term financing of projects.
As a responsible and prudent DFI, EADB gives priority to professionally-managed projects that demonstrate the potential for high growth and for generating substantial socioeconomic benefits and promoting regional integration.
The Bank also offers supplementary products such as asset leasing, equity financing, and short-term finance for working capital, trade finance and real estate development finance.
Part of its advisory services include the provision of a range of consulting services to businesses that require specialised advice on capital formation, cash flow and wealth management as well as project implementation and management.
In Asset Finance, EADB provides asset lease financing to carefully selected businesses particularly in construction, transport and agriculture sectors to acquire equipment, retaining title to the equipment for the period of the lease. EADB started asset leasing operations in 1996 and has over the years built considerable expertise in the product.
Asset lease financing is suitable for local businessmen and professionals whose concern is acquisition of movable and identifiable equipment and who do not want to tie up their cash flows in outright purchase. The leased equipment forms the primary security for the lending.
EADB has been intimately involved in the development of regional capital markets since the mid-90s and is the pioneer issuer of bonds in East Africa, which are now commonly issued in the region. The EADB endeavours to develop new instruments for the purpose of raising funds and deepening the capital markets. It also supports the capital markets through direct equity participation or financing of organisations that provide infrastructure for capital markets or through sponsorship of programmes and activities that help in development and deepening of the capital markets.
Socially and economically important projects may lack the scale or capacity required to qualify for commercial finance. They may also be nascent projects or technologies which are yet to mature within the markets and cannot therefore pass the “proof of concept” tests required to qualify for debt finance.
Further, a large number of enterprises within the Bank’s member states require equity or venture capital rather than debt funds, due to undercapitalisation and lack of appropriately priced resources. Given the significant demand from such companies and the specialised nature of the support required to enable such businesses to become viable, EADB will render support through carefully selected equity and venture funds.
EADB also plays a catalytic role by attracting other development partners to invest in such projects. In exceptional cases, the EADB invests directly into larger enterprises with significant social and economic impact subject to a clearly defined investment period exit mechanism.
EADB is the only regional development finance institution (DFI) for East Africa. The institution has over the years developed expertise in mobilisation of resources and structuring of region wide projects. Its standing as an institution of the community and experience within the region has positioned it to serve as an implementing agency for regional projects and programmes for the East African Community or for individual member states. In this regard, EADB continues to develop dedicated skills for public private partnership (PPP) activities and public finance initiatives (PFI) initiatives that can be employed for national or regional projects.
A key feature of infrastructure financing is that infrastructure development ensuing leads to the creation of public benefit or quasi-public benefit assets. Owing to massive resources required, the EADB participates in the development and financing of infrastructure projects in partnership with other entities. This takes the form of syndications or co-financings. EADB endeavours to influence the structuring of infrastructure projects for cost effectiveness and protection of public interest.
Because infrastructure facilities are mainly created for social benefit and not necessarily for private gain, in the past they have been largely financed by governments. Member countries’ structural reforms have now emphasised the importance of private investments in these areas, thus opening up new opportunities for the EADB’s core business with the sub-regional co-operation generating opportunities in various sectors including telecommunications, energy and transport.
Small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) provide significant opportunities for accelerating economic growth within the region. Owing to limitations of scale, SMEs may find themselves excluded from mainstream loan markets. Due to lack of appropriate delivery channels, EADB may not be able to reach the SMEs directly. The Bank, therefore, provides Lines of credit to national and regional development finance institutions (DFIs), micro finance institutions (MFIs) and local banks to enhance support to SMEs and new projects.
EADB may offer loan guarantees to clients as long as there is an underlying project. Key focus is to provide mechanisms of extra-budgetary funding and assistance for infrastructure projects particularly those that may not have access to commercial banks and insurers, primarily owing to a long project term, country risk, an inadequate return rate, or a limited local banking sector.
EADB also provides loans to projects directly, through syndicates and other forms of co-financing. The DFI’s core activity is direct project lending to medium and large-scale enterprises, with emphasis on export-oriented projects.
EADB provides financial assistance to entrepreneurs within member states aimed at development of real estate and property in varied forms including office blocks, shopping malls and residential properties both for rentals and outright purchase.
EADB commenced trade finance activities, whose focus is on export finance, in 1997. The product has been useful to the commodity exporters, particularly in coffee and cotton subsectors. Trade finance activities also provide a standard and secure mode of disbursement to enterprises wishing to acquire specialised capital goods with the proceeds of the loan funds.
Key features include commercial documentary letters of credit and standby letters of credit origination, confirmation, amendments and payments to support international and regional trade.
At the helm of this do-all regional DFI with its global linkages, is a Kenyan, Vivienne Yeda. At the time of her appointment as DG & CEO, the EADB had been a loss-making financial institution that had not made any profits since the early eighties. Vivienne took the helm at EADB on January 15, 2009. Vivienne Yeda was on the board of the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) from 2011 to 2015.
Prior to her appointment as the CEO at EADB, Vivienne was Resident Representative and Country Manager-Zambia at the Africa Development Bank Group (ADB).
At EADB, Vivienne’s greatest challenges include mobilising financial resources from outside East Africa for long-term financing of public and private sector development and turn-key projects in the member states. Under her, EADB strategically leverages EADB resources in conjunction with other multilateral international financial institutions and funnelling global capital for the benefit of the East African region.
EADB has developed flagship projects for sustainable development in the agriculture value chain and have more than 5000 SME projects in Kenya and Uganda.
The Bank also supports the training of doctors and teachers through its CSR programmes. METAF is an annual regional training programme for doctors in government hospitals to undergo training in neurology and oncology which has trained more than 400 doctors since inception.
Recently, our corporate resurgence was recognised by the institutional ranking of EADB as the best in Africa, preceded only by Afrexim Bank, with Vivienne Yeda named the Africa-America Institute’s Business Leader 2014 at an awards ceremony held in New York. Ms Yeda was awarded for her contributions in development banking, finance and business in Africa for over 20 years.
The AAI is a US-based international education and policy organisation dedicated to strengthening the human capacity of Africans and promoting the continent’s development through higher education and skills training, convening activities, partner engagement and research.
While presenting the awards, the former Chief of Staff at the African Development Bank said that the EADB had invested in successful companies, boosting the region’s economic growth. “Today, East Africa is among the fastest growing regions in the world. A great deal of this success is due to efforts made by individuals like Vivienne”.
Vivienne Yeda is the chairman of the board of the Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC), where she has already showed her mettle, by leading the company from a KES 939 Mn loss to a KES 1.5 Bn in net earnings for the year ended June 30 2021. The firm’s profit before tax stood at KES 8.2 Bn for the period under review. This represents a 216% growth compared to a loss before tax of KES 7.04 Bn the previous year.
Vivienne Yeda is 2022 BUSINESS MONTHLY EAST AFRICA TOP 25 MOST INFLUENTIAL CEO IMPACTING BUSINESS.