The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximban) and Barbadian businessman Mark Maloney yesterday (Thursday 13 June 2024) signed two agreements in Nassau, Bahamas, on day two of the bank's Annual Meeting and the AfriCaribbean Trade & Investment Forum. The agreements were signed by Maloney and Gwen Mwaba, the bank's director and global head of trade and finance.

The package includes USD $90 million (BDS $180 million) for the construction of a Hyatt hotel in Barbados along with a trade finance agreement worth USD $10 million (BDS $20 million) with Dangote Cement, Africa's largest cement producer, owned by Alito Dangote, the continent's richest man.

The Hyatt Hotel has been on the table for over eight years, and this financing announcement will see construction at the Bay Street site start later this year, according to Maloney, with completion expected in 18 months to two years.

Commenting  on the vote of confidence from Afreximbank, Mark Maloney said:

“It’s great . . . to see the huge influence that Afreximbank is having in the region. You know, region doesn’t lack opportunities, it lacks capital and it is challenging when you are doing projects, to be able to raise money in the local banking industry. And Afreximbank has shown its commitment to the region and planting its seed in Barbados where it is based,” he said. “It is also . . . signifies that Barbados is really the place to be.”

Describing the deal as 'very significant', Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank commented on the cement imports part of the agreement:

“Maloney Group is a major cement manufacturer. It processes clinker into cement and supplies many of the islands. It used to import this clinker from somewhere in Europe. But now with this facility means the clinker is likely to be coming from Dangote Cement,” he said. “This is an example of the kind of changes we will be seeing in the coming days, weeks, months and years.”