Afreximbank invests in Barbados’ historic cricket ground ahead of World Cup

Daily News Egypt
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The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) announced a $25m term loan facility for Kensington Oval Management Inc. (KOMI) to upgrade the iconic Kensington Oval Cricket Ground in Barbados. This investment comes ahead of the 2024 Cricket World Cup, scheduled for June 4th to 30th in Bridgetown.

The loan, backed by a guarantee from the Barbadian government, will fund renovations and refurbishments at the historic venue. Upgrades include the Garfield Sobers Players’ Pavilion, audio-visual and electrical systems, and the procurement of temporary stands.

“We are grateful for Afreximbank’s support and partnership,” said KOMI Chairman Mr. Damien Gaskin. “This renovation will not only allow us to host world-class events like the Cricket World Cup but also enhance Kensington Oval’s appeal as a tourist destination with tours highlighting its rich legacy.”

Afreximbank President and Chairperson Oramah emphasized the significance of the deal. “This historic agreement, signed at Ilaro Court, the Barbadian Prime Minister’s residence, marks Afreximbank’s first loan transaction in Barbados,” he said. “It builds upon our 2022 Memorandum of Understanding with Caricom member states, with USD 2.4 billion in potential deals across the Caribbean.”

Prof. Oramah further highlighted the growing Africa-Caribbean relationship. “Today, Kensington Oval becomes part of our partnership’s legacy,” he stated. “We envision cricketers from this region playing a role in developing the sport in Africa.”

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley underscored the importance of cricket. “Cricket World Cup is the third most-watched sporting event globally,” she said. “Barbados, home to cricketing legends, can work with Africa to elevate it to the second-biggest sport.”

Prime Minister Mottley emphasized the Caribbean’s role in cricket’s future. “Barbados is central to cricket’s evolution, with the potential to extend tourism beyond peak season,” she explained. “I commend President Oramah’s vision. The Caribbean and Africa are uniquely positioned to collaborate through trade and investment. Our demographics create a powerful engine for a thriving tourism economy.”

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