THE African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), through its Intra-African Trade Division, had, by the end of 2021, disbursed about $20bn in support of intra-African trade and investments, with plans to disburse a further $40bn during the next five years. That had raised the intra-African trade share of the Bank’s portfolio from 3 percent in 2016 to about 27 percent and had enabled African contractors to bid for African infrastructure-related projects, its president, Benedict Oramah, said.
In an opening statement at the 29th Afreximbank Annual Meetings (AAM2022) in Cairo on Wednesday, 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.
‘Africa’s problems are for Africans to solve,’ he said, asserting 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.
‘We stand on the pedestal of the work done here to say that we can if we dare,’ said President Oramah.
He complimented 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 $62bn 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 $4bn Ukraine Crisis Adjustment Trade Finance Programme for Africa (UKAFPA) to help countries to contain the short-term impacts of the crisis.
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 2022, is being held under the theme Realising the AfCFTA Potential in the Post-Covid-19 Era by Leveraging the Power of the Youth.
Sessions will 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.