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Afreximbank Commits To Intra-African Trade

African Union

The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) says it has disbursed US$20 billion in intra-continental trade support in the last five years, with the institution aiming to double that amount in the next five year.

Speaking at the official opening of Afreximbank Annual Meetings the bank’s president, Benedict Oramah said the aggressive pursuit of intra-African trade promotion and implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) will resolve questions surrounding the development of the continent.

“Through our intra-African trade division, we have in five years disbursed about US$20 billion in support of intra-African trade and investments, with plans to disburse US$40 billion during the next five years. We have raised the intra-African trade share of the Bank’s portfolio from 3% in 2016 to about 27% in 2021,” he said.

“In doing so, we are also supporting African contractors to bid for African infrastructure-related projects. Over the last few years, about US$12 billion of such projects have been supported.”

Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General of the AfCFTA Secretariat, said the broad theme, for this year’s Annual Meetings’ “Realising the AfCFTA Potential in the post-Covid-19 Era – leveraging the power of the youth”, recognizes the concrete role that young Africans can play in deploying the trade bloc as one of the major tools for creating a resilient economy in the continent.

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“In our context, we have to look to other economic tools, that is why aggressive implementation of the AfCFTA is Africa’s recovery tool, such that boosting intra-Africa trade becomes the driver of Africa’s economic recovery year on year, whether we talking about the services sector, digital trade or merchandise trade,” Mene said in his address.

He noted that in the medium to long-term, the AfCFTA does provide tools for Africa’s long term resilience and more importantly, the continent’s global competitiveness

“Through the establishment of continental value chains, and continental supply chain networks facilitated by the rules of the AfCFTA, Africa certainly does have the capacity to have an economy that can be characterized by resilience to enable the continent to withstand future crises and external shocks,” he said.

Mene however said the implementation of the AfCFTA is not going to be easy.

“…it will be challenging, and it shall require disciplined adherence to the rules decade after decade. We have seen how difficult economic integration is from the experience of the EU. The alternative – where we do not implement it – is to forever languish on the periphery of the global economy and to be permanently trapped in a colonial economic model,” he said.

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In his address, President of Egypt Abdel Fatah El-Sisi emphasized the extensive work required to realise the goals of the AfCFTA and called on African governments to pursue greater integration with their fellow African countries.

“If we would like to change the face of the African continent and make it a continent that is able to achieve the hopes of its people and youth, we need to develop the infrastructure to get us there. The first challenge of the African continent is to achieve continental infrastructure initiatives. This is the dream of the people especially in the highly populated countries and the hope of the youth. Huge investment is needed to achieve the goals and ambitions of an integrated Africa,” El-Sisi said.

The Afreximbank Annual Meetings 2022 focus on key trends affecting the African continent as it forges ahead with implementing the AfCFTA in a changing demographic that is grappling with post pandemic stagflation.



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