Afreximbank President Jean-Louis Ekra (left) in an exchange with Executive Vice President Dr. Benedict Oramah, during the seminar
Deepened business relationships and partnerships among African banks and other trade financiers, resulting in credit information and risk sharing and in pooling of expertise to structure complex trade and project finance deals, is enabling Africa to address the trade and project finance challenges facing it, Jean-Louis Ekra, President of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) said today. In an address at the opening of the annual Seminar/Workshop on Advanced Structured Trade Finance organized by Afreximbank in Douala, Cameroon, Mr. Ekra said that many bankers in Africa were beginning to use innovative structured trade finance instruments and structures to support trade development on the continent.
“We have also observed, over the last decade, a steady improvement in quality of deals being submitted to the Bank for financing by our trade and project finance intermediaries spread across the continent,” said Mr. Ekra, who noted that “Afreximbank introduced the annual seminar in 1999 to give African bankers and other players in the financial sector the capacity to structure trade and trade-related project finance deals under the difficult market conditions in Africa.”
According to the President, the seminar equips participants with the technical skills and knowledge to structure bankable trade and project finance deals and provides Afreximbank with a platform to strengthen business relationships with its clients and partner institutions.
Presentations covering various aspects of trade finance structuring were made on the opening day by speakers, including Rajiv Shah of BNP Paribas, Dr. Benedict Oramah, Executive Vice President of Afreximbank, David Franklin of the law firm of Franklin and Franklin, and Anne-Marie Woolley of Standard Bank, U.K.
The seminar participants consist of senior executives from African banks and financial institutions, hedge funds, Africa country funds and venture capital institutions, corporate entities engaged in trade, manufacturing and privatized infrastructure projects, Afreximbank’s trade finance and project finance intermediaries and African law firms.
In addition to a two-day four-session seminar segment on 19 and 20 November, the event, which is being organized in cooperation with the Central Bank of Central African States and the African Capacity Building Foundation, includes a one-day workshop on credit risk analysis on 21 November. They will be followed on 22 November by a one-day workshop on factoring.
The African Export Import Bank was established in October 1993 by African governments, African private and institutional investors, and non-African investors to finance and promote intra- and extra-African trade. Its two basic constitutive documents are the Establishment Agreement, which gives it the status of an international organization, and the Charter, which governs its corporate structure and operations. Since 1994, the Bank has approved more than $25 billion in credit facilities in support of African trade, including $3.71 billion in 2012.
Manal Mounir Hendy