By Lucy Ogalue
African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has disbursed eight billion dollars out of the 25 billion dollars it planned on a revolving basis to support intra-regional trade between 2017 and 2021.
The bank’s President, Prof. Benedict Oramah, said this at the on-going Afreximbank Annual Meeting (AAM 2019) in Moscow on Thursday.
“I am pleased to report that in two years of implementation, about eight billion dollars have been disbursed supporting trade and investment flows across borders.
“Afreximbank has committed significant resources towards creating the infrastructure that will support export manufacturing.
“A wood processing park supported by the Bank is already operational and contributing significantly to the economy of Gabon.
“A mineral processing park and port are also under development in Gabon as are industrial parks in Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Malawi, Togo and Kenya.
“Credit facilities have been granted for the construction of Border Markets in Southern Africa as well as for roads linking multiple countries in West Africa.
“We have made improving access to trade finance, especially trade services a key element of our work.
“ Afreximbank has set itself the goal of granting trade finance and trade services lines amounting to eight billion dollars to 500 African banks spread across the continent, by the end of 2021.
“And About 320 banks have so far been on-boarded into the Programme and work is continuing,’’ Oramah said.
He said the banks total assets and contingent liabilities increased from 13 billion in 2017 to about 15 billion dollars in 2018.
He said Afreximbank’s net income rose from 220 million dollars in 2017 to 276 million dollars in 2018, driven by a 19 per cent growth in net interest income and a contained rise in expenses.
Oramah said Afreximbank’s capitalisation had remained sound with capital adequacy ratio at 25 per cent, on the back of an increase of 20 per cent in shareholders’ funds.
He said the banks’s shareholders fund increased from 2.6 billion dollars in 2018 to 3.5 billion dollars in 2019.
He said:“ Based on the strong performance and the transformative initiatives the Bank implemented in 2018, it was voted African Bank of the Year by the African Banker a few days ago.’’
On Mansa (Africa Customer Due Diligence Repository Platform), Oramah said the population of the platform was underway and with the help of Central Bank of Egypt, extensive training of African Central Banks and commercial banks was also underway.
The Afreximbank boss expressed optimism that the platform, by 2020, would hold over 500,000 data sets making it the largest repository of Customer Due Diligence Information on African entities globally.
He said the bank was working at breaking down trade barriers in Africa caused by fragmentation through artificial intelligence.
He said the bank was also working with the Africa Union to arrange an AfCFTA Adjustment Facility worth one billion dollars to enable countries in need to manage fiscal revenue shock.
This facility, Oramah said would make it easier for countries to comply with their commitments on tariff concessions and make the AfCFTA more impactful.
Also, the Prime Minister, Republic of Russian Federation, Dmitry Medvedev, pledged the country’s support to support Nigeria and the rest of Africa in their search for economic development.
Medvedev said in spite of the difficult global economic developments, positive goals could still be achieved with effective partnership “when we do it together.’’
According to him, Russia and African economies are endowed richly, a development that makes strategic investments imperative on the continent, to support growth.
He assured that the Russian Federation was pleased to participate in the ensuing projects on the African continent.
The prime minister said that Russia would use its expertise to raise the value of the continent’s primary sector, particularly in industrial productions, mining and agriculture.
“Our export centre is now a shareholder of Afreximbank.
“We have sincere commitment for Africa and four African states have visited us in just few months, as a show of the new relationship that we are building.
“Over 17,000 African students are studying in Russia and we simply need to know each other better.
“Africa and Russia will deepen their friendship on the basis of business and more active interactions.
“We look forward with hope for a brighter relationship that is built on trust and mutual respect, and most importantly relations that will bring economic prosperity to Africa and our country,” Medvedev said.(NAN)