Afreximbank to disburse $85 bln to support intra-African trade

Afreximbank to disburse $85 bln to support intra-African trade

African Export-Import Bank (Afreximabank) plans to disburse about $85 billion in support of intra-African trade until 2021, Benedict Okey Oramah, the president and chairperson of the bank said.

Speaking on the sidelines of the 32nd African Union Summit, Oramah said the move is crucial to achieving African economic integration.

He said the bank is working with the AU to provide a state-of-the-art trade information web portal that will complement existing business initiatives to provide up-to-date economic information.

We already are in the process of launching the pan-African payment and settlement platform that will enable intra-African payment in local currency, he added.

The Cairo-based Afreximabank is looking through the decision to help fulfil economic integration within Africa. Since its inception in 1993, Afreximabank has provided credit facilities totalling some $35 billion to African business firms.

According to an African Union report, in terms of global goods trade, the continent accounts for only 1.8 per cent of imports and 3.6 per cent of exports.

These rates are even lower in the services sector with only 1.7 per cent and 1.8 per cent of imports and exports, respectively.

In an effort to improve the continent’s intra-trade statistics, the African Union organized the inaugural Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) hosted by Egypt last December.

The trade fair was meant to increase intra-African trade from $170 billion in 2014 to $250 billion and by so doing, ensure that intra-African trade reaches 22 per cent by 2021.

Intra-Africa trade is projected to be a $6 trillion opportunity for Africa in the short term and $12 trillion in the long term, according to Forbes magazine.

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