With the more than $15 billion provided annually to African businesses, the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is achieving its mandate of financing, promoting and expanding intra and extra-African trade, participants heard today in Mahe, Seychelles, at the opening of activities marking the 23rd Annual General Meeting of Shareholders of the Bank.
Danny Faure, Vice President of Seychelles, said during the opening of three days of seminars and meeting of the Advisory Group on Trade Finance and Export Development in Africa, that Afreximbank’s services were reaching beneficiaries from all sectors of the African economy, varying in size from small and medium enterprises to large conglomerates.
According to Mr. Faure, the seminar theme of “Intra-African Trade and the Blue Economy as Catalysts for Economic Transformation” highlights the importance that governments have placed on intra-African trade as well as the call by the United Nations for the conservation and sustainable development of the Blue Economy.
He said that the potential for trade in Africa was vast but that the Blue Economy should not just be for providing cheap raw materials to more industrialised countries. It should also boost the local production of value added goods and services.
Dr. George Elombi, Afreximbank’s Executive Vice-President for Corporate Governance and Legal Services, said that the Blue Economy could serve as an important channel for diversifying the African economy and could be a key pillar for national economic growth and sustainable development
Auxiliary industries associated with the Blue Economy offered opportunities to boost Africa’s intra-regional trade, he continued.
Dr. Elombi argued that Africa should be the world’s next frontier for industrialization, especially with the ongoing process of delocalization and manufacturing outsourcing in China. In his view, Africa must resolutely address the challenges of industrialization in order to facilitate the continent’s integration into global value chains.
In a plenary presentation, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, a former Under-secretary-General of the United Nations, reiterated the importance of pursuing economic integration in Africa in order to achieve economic development.
He said that through integration, Africa would achieve the creation of larger markets, noting that with their relative small size, many African countries were just too small to be able to stand as viable markets on their own.
In introducing the seminars, Dr. Hipolyte Fofack, Afreximbank Chief Economist, said that they had been planned to provide opportunity for reflection on the challenges facing African economies in a context of increased global volatility and weakening global growth and to explore options for taking full advantage of opportunities.
Among those scheduled to address participants during the four days of activities are former President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria; Prof. Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize winner in economics; Prof. Justin Lin, a former World Bank Chief Economist and Director, New Structural Economics and Honorary Dean of the National School of Development, Peking University, China; Liu Liange, President of the China Exim Bank; Arni Mathiesen, an Assistant Director-General of the FAO and former Minister of Finance of Iceland; Tony Elumelu, Chairman of Heirs Holdings ltd., Nigeria; Ahmed El Sewedy, President of El Sewedy Industries, Egypt; and Dr. Paul Fokam, Chairman of Afriland First Bank Group.
In addition to the seminars and meeting of the Advisory Group, an investment forum and a trade exhibition, co-organised with the government of Seychelles, are also scheduled to take place on Thursday while the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders will take place on Saturday.
Afreximbank External Communications