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The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has mobilised a whopping $35 b for the development of the continent, in the last five years.
The President of the bank, Prof. Benedict Oramah, disclosed this at the official opening of the 2022 Annual Meetings of the institution, in Cairo, Egypt , yesterday.
He attributed the achievements of the bank to the foresight of Nigeria and Egypt that made the first investments in setting up the bank.
His words, “The Egyptian Government, through the Central Bank of Egypt, are strong supporters of Afreximbank and committed to making it a strong and impactful continental institution.
“They have led the way, whenever it mattered; contributing significant equity, giving the Afreximbank Central Bank Deposit Program (CENDEP) the impetus it needed when they, and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) became the initial depositors of billions of US dollars. It is to their credit that CENDEP now has fifty (50) participants and mobilised an aggregate of 35 billion US dollars in the last 4-5 years.
“CBE has also partnered with Afreximbank to train several African bankers in many areas. We are pleased to have been their choice to advise on the creation of a national Export Credit Agency (ECA). As a result, Afreximbank has now been mandated to do the same in other countries. It is a partnership we highly value and thank Tarek and his team for standing strong behind what they own.”
Prof. Oramah noted that African leaders, in the 1960s had taken steps for the continent to work together to pull the region out of its economic backwardness.
He said that the urgency of that integration has become more crucial, now than ever.
The president urged Africa leaders to empower the region’s financial institutions to be able to do more in the development efforts of the continent.
Tarek Hassan Amer, Central Bank of Egypt Governor said that his country was hosting the Afreximbank Annual Meetings to show the commitment of Egypt to the integration at the highest leve of government.
His words, “Over the past 7 years , we have seen different momentums to the consideration and commitment to African and African institutions.
“We feel much more connected and belonging and want to do much more. We have seen the potentials. But why are we not achieving the potential?
“There have been individual efforts but why are we unable to witness the development desired.
The banks and.other financial institutions must understand the market. They must own intra African trade. It is the business institution, region?”
Mr. Amer urged more efforts towards African solutions to the problems that confront Africa.
His words, “African solutions can only happened within Africa. We have made efforts to seek solutions from outside Africa. But the solutions are within Africa. What we lack is just for us to come together and work together.
He urged all African countries to be smart and fair in the implementation of the AfCFTA.
According to him, “A smart trader is a trader that looks for fair deals. Deals that work for both sides. We have to work together and put our energy and forces together.”
He described Freximbank as a good stepping platform to achieve African development.
“We want this bank more capitalised to do more. We have a leadership that wants to do more.
We are willing to support them by putting more capital into the Afreximbank. Without passion, you won’t get unconventional results.
Amer said, “I have asked myself, why is Egypt importing meat from Brazil, not an African country.
Our problem is inflation against our people. We are connected to the community. Let us work with our people. If you are connected to the people, you will be or for wrong.
How to check inflation and continue to invest in the delicate balance that confronts all Central Banks. The Government of Egypt is heady to help Afreximbank as we will never shirk in supporting this institution.
During the panel discussion, African Union Commissioner for Economic Development, Trade, Tourism, Industry and Minerals , Amb. Albert Muchanga called on African leaders to demonstrate commitment to the implementation of the free trade agreement.
He argued that with policies across the region, it would be easy to mobilise huge investment capital from both Africans in the Diaspora and from international investors, who have been waiting for the right environment to invest in Africa.
In his own contribution, Dr. Vera Songwe, United Nations Under Secretary-General and Executive Director of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, said that the current breakup of the supply chain should challenge Africa to rise up to occasion, adding, “Africa should reorder the supply chain.”
She said “To ensure intra-African trade, we need to put in place the necessary infrastructure. 70 per cent of African trade happens by roads. But do we have the good road?
”We need policies to ensure that goods move around the continent without hindrance.”
In his contribution, Mr. Rami Abulnaga, Deputy of the Central Bank of Egypt said that the times were unusual and as such, enontiate extraordinary polices to make things happen, “you cannot just fold your hands expect things to happen.”
In his address, the 2001 Nobel Laureate in Economics, Pro. Michael Spence, urged African leaders to rethink economic issues that had earlier been taken for granted.