ECIC: Helping Facilitate African Trade

The Export Credit Insurance Corporation of South Africa (ECIC) was established 16 years ago, July 2001 when it was given the mandate of filling a market gap through the provision of medium to long-term export credit and investment guarantees by underwriting bank loans for political and commercial risk insurance cover, on behalf of the South African government.

The short-term transaction market was amply catered for, but medium to longterm export transactions still had a need for a dedicated export credit agency, hence the formation of the ECIC. Acting as a catalyst for private investment, the ECIC steps in where commercial lenders are either unwilling or unable to accept long term risks Along with the ECIC’s major shareholder – the Department of Trade and Industry – the ECIC makes use of  market research tools and specialised business development units to create new insurance products that support government’s export promotion objectives. The revised performance bond insurance product, which was launched in 2016, is one such example.

The ECIC has recently developed new products including lines of credit, lease and return of plant equipment. It also continues to be a catalyst for increased lending capacity by financial institutions by entering agreements with other export credit agencies (ECAs). In this way, it creates a frame-work for both re- and coinsurance.

To this end, it has adopted a comprehensive plan of action aimed at actualising cooperation programmes for mutual benefit in conjunction with, among others, BRICS ECAs, Afreximbank and African Trade Insurance.

The ECIC is also able to price African risk more competitively, given its knowledge of the African market.

The ECIC addresses obstacles through facilitation and by aiding in the release of funding required for infrastructure, which is of particular concern to global organisations seeking a presence in Africa.

Export credit is imperative, considering capital exports are long-dated assets. It is customary for firms to finance such exports with bank debt for cash flowmanagement purposes. Export credit financing is therefore an important and key aspect of international trade.

The ECIC is committed to sustainable business through innovative solutions, operational and service excellence, business development and strategic partnerships. In enabling frontier markets to optimise production, the ECIC is effectively motivating a positive socioeconomic impact.

Our mission is to provide export credit and investment insurance solutions in support of South African capital goods and services by applying best practice risk management principles.