The Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank, better known as PTA Bank, has rebranded itself to Trade and Development Bank (TDB) in a bid to renew its commitment to innovative financing to promote trade and economic development in the Common Market of East and Southern Africa (Comesa) region.
Created in 1985 by Comesa, TDB is a regional financial institution which has a mandate to foster trade, socioeconomic development and regional trade which it does through trade finance as well as projects and infrastructure finance.
The reason for the rebranding , according to Mary Kamari, the Director of Corporate Affairs and Investor Relations at TDB, lies with the bank’s evolution in the last years, driven by innovation, expansion and growth.
“Historically, PTA Bank served the Preferential Trade Area that was established under Comesa,” she explained during a press briefing in Kigali to explain the rebranding. “But we were expanding from Southern Africa into the rest of the continent and beyond. So we needed a corporate identity to reflect that.”
“Also, our strategic goal is to be the preferred regional development finance institution in the regions we serve, yet a study showed that in the francophone countries, PTA Bank was still seen as an institution for Southern and Eastern Africa,” she said, adding that the rebranding also aims at changing this perception.
Last but not least, TDB has also grown tremendously in the last five years, increasing its balance sheet from $1.2 billion to $5 billion, which allows it to expand its activities.
“So for all these reasons, we had to rebrand ourselves to have a corporate identity to better show what we do,” Kamari concluded.
In its three decades of operations, TDB has funded numerous big projects, including the Turkana wind power project in Kenya, the Kilwa power plant in Tanzania, the Hydromax mini-hydro in Uganda, the fibre optic backbone in Burundi, as well as industrial projects such as cement and steel plants in the DR Congo, Djibouti, Zambia, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe. In its portfolio, agribusiness accounts for 21%, banking and finance 15%, manufacturing and heavy industries 13% and petrochemicals 14%.
In Rwanda, TDB has invested close to $460 million, according to Mabouba Diagne, the director for Dealing, Structuring and Financial Modeling at the bank.
“We can proudly say that the bank has funded Rwandair, it tells you how committed TDB is in this country” he remarked. “70% of our funding here is in the transport and logistics sector. As Rwanda is a landlocked country, by investing in a flagship carrier like Rwandair we are taking Rwanda to the world and bringing the world to Kigali.”
The bank has also invested heavily in energy in Rwanda, at 11% of its total investment in the country; it has also financed hotels, cement and agribusiness.
“We are here to be relevant, and committed to remain relevant,” Diagne observed.
The shareholders, for one, are certainly convinced that TDB is an important player. Among them is the Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB).
“TDB is truly a world-class financial institution,” said John Bosco Sebabi, deputy DG in charge of Funds Management at RSSB and also a non-executive director at TDB. “RSSB was one of the first institutional investors in the bank, and we can attest to its success.”
“It is my firm believe that Africa’s own institutions should play a crucial role in shaping the future of this continent, especially by providing long-term capital,” he concluded.