Afreximbank provides loan to support Kensington Oval rehabilitation for ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024

The Afreximbank has extended a USD 25 million loan to Kensington Oval Management Inc.

The African Export-Import Bank, Afreximbank has announced its support for the rehabilitation of Barbados’ Kensington Oval cricket ground.

The Banque Africaine d’Import-Export has extended a USD 25 million loan to Kensington Oval Management Inc. (KOMI), the company managing the facility. The Government of Barbados guaranteed the loan.

This financial backing aims to renovate and refurbish the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados. The iconic stadium is slated to host matches during the upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024, scheduled from June 4 to 30.

The loan will be used for various improvements, including general upgrades to the facility, and refurbishment of the Garfield Sobers Players’ Pavilion, a major spectator stand. Additionally, the project will encompass enhancements to the venue’s audio-visual and electrical systems. Furthermore, temporary stands will be procured to expand seating capacity.

Speaking at the facility signing ceremony, the Chairman of KOMI, Mr. Damien Gaskin, said, “I would like to thank both Afreximbank for the support and partnership to help with the renovation of the sports complex, and the Government of Barbados under the Ministry of Finance for the provision of an interim bridge loan facility. With the renovated sports facility, we envisage increased utilization of Kensington Oval not only as a destination of choice to host world class events but also as a tourist attraction offering specialty tours leaning on the legacy of this historic venue. This will be a boost to sports and heritage tourism in Barbados.” 

Prof. Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors at Afreximbank, said, “We are delighted to be signing this historic agreement in Ilaro Court, the Residence of the Prime Minister of Barbados, named after a village in Western Nigeria. It is remarkable that we are consummating the first Afreximbank loan transaction in Barbados in this building, where less than 3 years ago, we signed the Memorandum of Understanding that set the stage for the partnership Afreximbank has formed with Caricom member states. With USD 2.4 billion in implementable pipeline deals in the Caribbean, I see this as the first of many deal signings to follow.

The relationship between Africa and the Caribbean is growing as is evident in the fast-paced progress we have witnessed in just two years. And today Kensington Oval will form part of the legacy in the history of our partnership, which can see Cricketers from the region play a role in developing the sport in Africa.”

Prime Minister, Mia Mottley, said, “World Cup Cricket is the 3rd most important sport in the world after the football Olympics. Barbados is home to some of the greatest cricketers of all time, and once this sport picks up in the rest of Africa, jointly we can elevate it to become the world’s second sports. Barbados has a central role to play in the evolution of cricket, as it has the full potential of flattening the annual tourist curve to an all year-round sports tourism attraction.

I salute President Oramah for his vision and commitment to the region. The Caribbean is in a unique position to work with Africa through trade and investment. Our regions have a demographic dividend that can drive and sustain a vibrant tourism economy.”

The African Export-Import Bank, also known as Afreximbank, is a pan-African financial institution founded in 1993. Established to promote and finance trade across Africa, Afreximbank supports intra-African trade, within the continent, and extra-African trade, between Africa and other parts of the world. Headquartered in Cairo, Egypt, Afreximbank works with various institutions to achieve its goals, including commercial banks, development finance institutions, and export credit agencies.

Kensington Oval is a historic cricket stadium in Bridgetown, Barbados. Established in 1882, it’s the island’s premier sporting venue and a true cricketing landmark in the West Indies. The sporting facility will be buzzing with action during the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024. The group stage sees Namibia clash with Oman, followed by a high-voltage encounter between England and Scotland. Australia will also take centre stage twice at the Oval, facing both Oman and England. After the group stage, Kensington Oval will host three crucial Super 8 matches and the grand finale.

Afreximbank’s involvement underscores the significance of cricket to Barbadian heritage and the nation’s commitment to presenting a world-class venue for the prestigious Cricket World Cup.

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