• Wednesday, June 12, 2024
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Nigeria, 37 others benefit from Afreximbank’s $15 billion inter-African trade support fund

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Nigeria and 37 other shareholding member countries of the Africa Export Import Bank, known as Afreximbank would benefit from the Bank’s $15 billion inter-Africa trade support fund, which is being provided by the pan African trade bank to boost trade on the continent.
With the more than $15 billion provided annually to African businesses, the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is achieving its mandate of financing, promoting and expanding intra and extra-African trade.
At the Bank’s 23rd annual general meeting of shareholders in Mahe, Seychelles Danny Faure, the Vice President of Seychelles, said during the opening of three days of seminars and meeting of the Advisory Group on Trade Finance and Export Development in Africa, that Afreximbank’s services were reaching beneficiaries from all sectors of the African economy, varying in size from small and medium enterprises to large conglomerates.
Nigeria, which hosts Afreximbak’s second headquarters in Abuja, is among the bank’s Class ‘A’ country shareholders.
According to Faure, the seminar theme of “Intra-African Trade and the Blue Economy as Catalysts for Economic Transformation,” highlights the importance that governments have placed on intra-African trade, as well as the call by the United Nations for the conservation and sustainable development of the Blue Economy.
He said the potential for trade in Africa was vast but that the Blue Economy should not just be for providing cheap raw materials to more industrialised countries. It should also boost the local production of value added goods and services.
Afreximbank has set to implement a new strategy aimed at driving industrialisation across Africa and increasing intra-African trade by at least 50 per cent in the next five years, to $250 billion.
BusinessDay checks indicate that trade among African countries currently stands at about $170 billion, with about 40 percent trade going on informal level, indicating institutional gaps.
The strategy to increase intra-African trade would involve expanding existing trading activities within Africa’s regional economic communities, integrating informal trade into formal frameworks, reducing trade barriers and minimizing the foreign exchange costs of intra-African trade.
George Elombi, Afreximbank’s executive Vice-President for Corporate Governance and Legal Services, said the Blue Economy could serve as an important channel for diversifying the African economy, and could be a key pillar for national economic growth and sustainable development.
Auxiliary industries associated with the Blue Economy offered opportunities to boost Africa’s intra-regional trade, he continued.
Elombi argued that Africa should be the world’s next frontier for industrialization, especially with the ongoing process of delocalization and manufacturing outsourcing in China. In his view, Africa must resolutely address the challenges of industrialisation in order to facilitate the continent’s integration into global value chains.
In a plenary presentation, Nigeria’s Ibrahim Gambari, a former Under-secretary-General of the United Nations, reiterated the importance of pursuing economic integration in Africa in order to achieve economic development.
He said that through integration, Africa would achieve the creation of larger markets, noting that with their relative small size, many African countries were just too small to be able to stand as viable markets on their own.
In introducing the seminars, Hipolyte Fofack, Afreximbank Chief Economist, said that they had been planned to provide opportunity for reflection on the challenges facing African economies in a context of increased global volatility and weakening global growth and to explore options for taking full advantage of opportunities.
BEN EGUZOZIE, with agency reports