Finance

Afreximbank earmarks $40 billion to support intra-African trade

The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and Nigeria Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) have announced a $750,000 grant to support the charting of the main channel of the Niger-Benue river in Nigeria, as part of the Regional Sealink Project, which aims to bridge the gap in maritime transport infrastructure and improve trade connectivity in West Africa.

African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) plans to disburse $ 40 billion to support intra-African trade and investments in the next five years.

The President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank, Prof Benedict Oramah,who announced this at the start of the 29th Afreximbank Annual Meetings (AAM2022) in Cairo, indicated that last year, the bank disbursed about $20 billion through its Intra-African Trade Division towards the same cause.

His words: “That had raised the intra-African trade share of the Bank’s portfolio from three percent in 2016 to about 27per cent in 2021 and had enabled African contractors to bid for African infrastructure-related projects.

“Africa’s problems are for Africans to solve,” Oramah, told participants at AAM2022.

Oramah said that Afreximbank had intervened to help the continent implement African solutions during challenging times, some with the support of other development partners and African institutions.

He asserted that, with the creation of the African Vaccine Trust (AVAT), which enabled African Union (AU) member states to procure 400 million doses of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for the fight against the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic through the AU’s Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT), the notion that Africa cannot rise again had been debunked.

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“We stand on the pedestal of the work done here to say that we can if we dare,” said President Oramah.

He complemented the resilience of the continent during the challenging times brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, saying that positive stories emanating from particular countries like Egypt, which had invested over 62 billion US Dollars over the past six years in massive infrastructural transformation, were a manifestation of the continent’s ability to achieve whatever it desired for its people.

“Notwithstanding the increased frequency of crises, we must not lose sight of the fundamental challenges that Africa must resolve. We can no longer accept that after 60 years of independence, Africa remains financially and economically fragmented. We can no longer continue to espouse the benefits of an integrated continent but do little to achieve it,” said Oramah.

On the ongoing Ukraine crisis, . Oramah appreciated the new challenges posed to Africa, including difficulties in accessing grains, fertilisers and petroleum products, and noted that Afreximbank had stepped in with the 4 billion US dollar Ukraine Crisis Adjustment Trade Finance Programme for Africa (UKAFPA) to help countries to contain the short-term impacts of the crisis.

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He appealed for increased commitment to the Bank by its shareholders, saying that a stronger Afreximbank could be one of the solid pillars on which Africa’s development could be built.

AAM2022, which runs through Saturday June 18, is being held under the theme ‘Realizing the AfCFTA Potential in the Post-Covid-19 Era by Leveraging the Power of the Youth’.

Sessions during the week long programme include the meetings of the Advisory Group on Trade Finance and Export Development in Africa and the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders of the Bank, complemented by a full programme of seminars and plenaries featuring insights from senior government ministers, senior executives of international and continental organisations and authorities, captains of industry, and leading economists, amongst others.

The meetings are being attended by business and political leaders, banking industry professionals, trade and trade finance practitioners and other parties involved in economic development from across Africa and beyond. The Meetings have been ranked among the most important gatherings of economic decision makers in Africa.

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