African Development Bank Signs $1 Billion Exposure Exchange Deal with Asian Development Bank

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has recently gained approval from its Board of Directors for a $1 billion exposure exchange deal with the Asian Development Bank. This significant transaction aims to support the AfDB’s efforts to create more sovereign lending headroom and strengthen its capital adequacy metrics.

The exposure exchange agreement is the second of its kind for the African Development Bank, following a successful deal finalized in 2015 with the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank Group’s International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. These exposure exchanges allow multilateral development banks to synthetically exchange sovereign exposures in a risk-neutral manner, addressing single obligor constraints and portfolio concentration.

In the current global context, this new exposure exchange comes as the African Development Bank continues to support its regional member countries, particularly those grappling with the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic and the spillover effects of the Russian-Ukraine war, which have had a profound impact on many African nations.

The transaction aligns with the G20 Action Plan, aimed at optimizing the balance sheets of multilateral development banks without significantly increasing risk or adversely affecting credit ratings. While the AfDB’s current prudential ratios comply with statutory limits and its credit rating remains AAA, the exposure exchange will enable the bank to provide additional financing to African countries, especially in situations where countercyclical lending is necessary, all while adhering to internal single obligor limits and concentration ratios.

Max Ndiaye, Director of the Syndications, Co-financing and Client Solutions Department at the African Development Bank, emphasized the operation’s significance, stating that it highlights the bank’s commitment to innovative approaches and initiatives in line with the G20 call. By engaging in such risk transfers, the AfDB aims to maximize capital and increase development lending opportunities for the benefit of African countries.

The exposure exchange deal with the Asian Development Bank represents a strategic move by the African Development Bank to strengthen its financial position and continue its vital support for African nations during challenging times. As the world grapples with ongoing economic uncertainties, such collaborative efforts among multilateral development banks are essential in fostering sustainable development and progress across the African continent.

Thandisizwe Mgudlwa

Thandisizwe Mgudlwa is a freelance journalist.

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