L-R: Patrice Kitebi, Minister of Finance of the DRC; Afreximbank President Jean-Louis Ekra; Henri Yaw Mulang, Deputy Director, Office of the President of the DRC; and Dr. Benedict Oramah, Executive Vice President of Afreximbank.
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is to become the next African country to join the African Export-Import Bank as a member and shareholder, according to indications from a high-powered government delegation that visited the Bank’s Cairo headquarters on 13 February.
The delegation, led by Patrice Kitebi, the Minister of Finance, informed Afreximbank officials that it was in Cairo to gain better understanding of the role and activities of the Bank for a final report to enable the Government conclude the signing and ratification process to join the Bank.
Mr. Kitebi said that all the necessary approvals had been concluded and that the DRC expected to become a member of the Bank within a matter of weeks with the signing and ratification of the instrument of accession to the Agreement Establishing the Bank. That action will make it the 36th African country to join the Bank.
Mr. Kitebi said that the country would expect support from the Bank in several key sectors, including agriculture, mining, exploitation of forest resources and support for the private sector, particularly in terms of assisting with the creation of Congolese champions of industry.
Earlier, Jean-Louis Ekra, President of Afreximbank, told the Minister that the Bank shared the desire of President Joseph Kabila of the DRC to achieve increased value addition to goods being exported to from the country. The Bank already had facilities that could help to address that challenge as well as facilities to assist in other areas, once the membership was activated.
According to Mr. Ekra, Afreximbank had been forced to turn down applications worth several hundred million dollars from companies doing business in the DRC because the country was not a member of the Bank. Once the membership became active, Congolese businesses would automatically become eligible for all the facilities available through the Bank, he added.
Under the terms of the 1993 Abidjan Agreement on the establishment of the Bank, countries that did not sign the Agreement before it entered into force, are required to issue an instrument of acceptance and accession and then to ratify the Establishment Agreement in order to fully activate their membership.
Currently, the participating members include Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d ‘ Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania and Mauritius.
Others are Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Liberia and Seychelles.
The DRC’s neighbour, the Republic of Congo, signed the instrument of accession in July 2013.
Afreximbank External Communications