…as Ramophosa urges Nigeria to sign CFTA
President of African Export Import (AFREXIM) Bank, Benedict Oranmah says the bank has committed the sum of $25 billion for disbursement to support African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and intra-African trade (in Nigeria and other African countries) by the end of 2021 as well as championing, alongside the AU, the first ever Intra-African Trade Fair that will be held in Cairo in December this year.
The AFREXIM CEO said the bank has an intra African trade strategy hinged on three pillers: create, connect and deliver. He said aim is to link the African producers to their buyers by providing logistics that would ensure that manufactured goods get to the market. Dr Oranmah said $8 billion has been disbursed already. “We are creating the infrastructure that will help trade to occur,” Oranmah said, adding that the motive is to attract foreign direct investment through the AfCTA.
The AfCFTA is a treaty that is expected to accelerate the integration of African market, foster regional value chains, promote dynamic comparative advantage across Africa for certain kinds of goods and boost employment.
Speaking at the event that is holding in Abuja, South African President Cyril Ramophosa urged the Nigerian government to sign on to the the AfCTA that currently has 44-member countries from the continent, while expressing confidence that the conference will develop practical framework that will facilitate Africa’s growth to achieving the agenda 2063 of the African Union.
Ramophosa said other African countries look up to Nigeria and South Africa, hence the need for the two leading economies to sign the agreement in order to show their leadership role. “As Africans, we should play the role we are endowed to play with innovation and talent which Africa is known for.
In her response, Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun said the federal government is still consulting with the necessary stakeholders before it will come out to make her decision known on the signatory to the continental trade agreement. Adeosun also called on Afreximbank to invest more in the African continent to promote trade and investment and support more businesses to grow.
“Urgency of now is the message for Africa,” Adeosun said the event to mark the Annual General Meeting of the bank and its 25th anniversary termed: ‘celebrating the past, shaping the future’. “We are tired of hearing of rhetoric words -Africa’s potential, let us out it into action. As a government we are working to encourage real growth and sustainable trade within the African continent. We must transform our national economies and we must transform trade,” she said.
The Afreximbank President said the anniversary was significant because it marks 25years after the bank was established at the time the African economic difficulties struck in 1980s; poverty became rife, wars and counter coups were high. “It was like the continent was going to implode. It was in that context that African development bank championed the establishment of Afrexim, a bank that has done about $50 billion of investments. We are pleased that emergency funds was able to achieve the desired results,” Oranmah stated.
Dr Oranmah said CFTA is important because it will empower African countries to come together to negotiate with developed countries. He added that the bank is working on a plan that will make the use of foreign currency trend towards zero in the continent by encouraging African countries to trade in individual currencies with each other.
Part of activities of the opening ceremony was the signing of a €500 million agreement between Afreximbank and the Development Bank of the Central African States (BDEAC). BDEAC is a multilateral development bank that is charged with financing of the development of the member states. Dr Oramah signed the agreement on behalf of the bank while Mr. Fortunato Mbo Nchama signed on behalf of BDEAC.
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