BusinessDay

Afrexim bank to boost African trade with $40b, as Buhari seeks higher commitments

The African Export-Import Bank, Afrexim has pledged $40 billion to boost inter-African trade in the next five years. President Muhammadu Buhari also called for a higher level of commitment from all stakeholders to tackle the slow pace of physical integration, political cooperation and tariff barriers that inhibit business integration in Africa.

The President made the call in his address at the second African Sub-Sovereign Governments Network (AFSNET) Conference on Friday in Abuja, organised by the Afreximbank in collaboration with the secretariat of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum. At the event, President Buhari decried the low-level trade among African countries, saying AfCFTA will succeed if the region’s governments demonstrate a higher level of commitments.

“It is a bitter reality that Intra-regional trade still accounts for a very tiny fraction of total trade in Africa,” Buhari said.

”We have to understand that if this new drive towards a continental free trade area is to succeed, we must demonstrate a higher level of commitment to tackle the slow pace of physical integration due to geographic and political fragmentations, the pace of political cooperation, and difficult tariff and non- tariff barriers that inhibit business integration.”

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The President and Chairman of the Board of Directors, Afreximbank, Benedict Oramah welcomed the need for deliberate action to remedy the continued reliance of Africa on external trade partners, noting that the AfCFTA provides the platform to do that.

Pledging the commitment of Afreximbank, Oramah said the bank “has disbursed over $20 billion in the 5 years to 2021 in support of intra-African trade and on the way to double this to $40 billion in the next 5 years.

”We have supported the AfCFTA Secretariat through current funding; launched in collaboration with the AfCFTA secretariat and AU Commission, the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) to support payment for intra-Africa trade in African currencies

”A USD 3 billion facility for clearing and settlement is available for a continent-wide operation of the system; We have also launched the African Collaborative Transit Guarantee Scheme to enable goods to move across borders easily, ” he said.

The Minister of Trade and Investments, Niyi Adebayo, in his remarks, said the African Continent must continue to adjust to the new realities if the continent will liberate its citizens from poverty

Adebayo , while citing the Russia/ Ukraine war, called on the subnational government to strengthen inter African trade, in the current wave of globalization.

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