.Signs $100bn credit facility with ITFC
By Temitope Adeoye
The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has already disbursed $15 billion of the $25 billion it committed in support of intra-African trade under its current five-year strategic plan, Bank President Prof. Benedict Oramah has said.
This is even as the Afreximbank signed an agreement with the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) to provide a $100-million credit facility to the bank to promote Arab-Africa trade and investments.
Confirming that the Bank was delivering on the commitments it made in support of the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, Prof. Oramah told the attendees at the opening of the Africa 2019: Investment for Africa Forum in Egypt’s New Capital City recently that the funding was helping bridge the trade finance gap in Africa.
He added that Afreximbank would soon commence the piloting of a Pan-African Payment and Settlement System which will allow cross-border trade in Africa to be done in national currencies, thereby addressing the issue of the high cost of payments.
Prof. Oramah also said that the Bank was building a trade information portal, which would be launched by year-end, to improve knowledge and access to critical trade information across Africa and was developing industrial parks across the continent.
It was also working with the African Union to organise the second Intra-African Trade Fair in Kigali in September 2020, continued Prof. Oramah. The trade fair would underpin a market of 1.2 billion people, attracts over 1,000 exhibitors and 5,000 buyers and generate over $32 billion in deals.
The President said that Egypt had become the largest recipient of foreign direct investments in Africa, despite witnessing a retreat between 2011 and 2013. He attributed this development to the return of confidence to the Egyptian economy due to the visionary leadership of the country.
The two-day Africa 2019: Investment for Africa Forum was organised by the Egyptian Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation, in collaboration with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and of Trade and Industry.
It was held under the auspices of Egyptian President and current Chairman of the African Union, Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi.
Meanwhile, the agreement states that the facility will help finance and de-risk trade flows between the Arab and Africa regions, thereby raising the level of trade, which currently stands at about $500 million.
It will also help in leveraging other Arabian funds in support of Arab investments in Africa. The facility is part of the Afreximbank/ITFC Arab-Africa Trade and Investment Promotion Programme launched by the two organisations about two years ago and is aimed at deepening the partnership between them.