Oramah compliments Africa’s resilience in challenging times

Prof. Benedict Oramah, has complimented the African continent’s resilience during challenging times brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prof. Benedict Oramah, addressing participants at the opening of AAM 2022 in Cairo

Chairman of the Board of Directors and President of Africa Export and Import Bank, Afreximbank, Prof. Benedict Oramah, has complimented the African continent’s resilience during challenging times brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He has emphasised that positive stories emanating from countries like Egypt, which has invested over US$62billion over the past six years in massive infrastructural transformation, are a manifestation of the continent’s ability to achieve whatever it desires for its people.

On the ongoing Ukraine crisis, Prof. Oramah appreciates the new challenges posed to Africa, including difficulties in accessing grains, fertiliser and petroleum products – noting that Afreximbank has stepped in with the US$4billion Ukraine Crisis Adjustment Trade Finance Programme for Africa (UKAFPA) to help countries contain short-term impacts of the crisis.

Prof. Benedict Oramah said these and more in an opening statement at the official opening of the 29th Afreximbank Annual Meetings (AAM2022) last Wednesday at the St. Regis Alamsa Convention Centre in Egypt’s New Administration Capital, Cairo.

Participants at the opening session

He reiterated that in spite of the increased frequency of crises, African leaders must not lose sight of the fundamental challenges which Africa must resolve.

“We can no longer accept that after 60 years of independence, Africa remains financially and economically fragmented. We can no longer continue to espouse the benefits of an integrated continent but do little to achieve it and say ‘Africa’s problems are for Africans to solve’,” Prof Oramah stressed.

He mentioned that Afreximbank has intervened to help the continent implement African solutions during challenging times, some with the support of development partners and African institutions.

He asserted that with the creation of the African Vaccine Trust (AVAT) – which enabled African Union (AU) member-states to procure 400 million doses of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for the fight against spread of the COVID-19 pandemic through the AU’s Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) – the notion that Africa cannot rise again has been debunked. “We stand on the pedestal of the work done here to say that we can if we dare,” said President Oramah.

He appealed for increased commitment to the Bank by its shareholders, saying that a stronger Afreximbank could be one of the solid pillars on which Africa’s development can be built.

Prof. Oramah announced that by 2021 Afreximbank through its Intra-African Trade Division had disbursed about US$20billion in support of intra-African trade and investments, with plans to disburse a further US$40billion during the next five years.

This, according to him, raised the intra-African trade share of the Bank’s portfolio from 3% in 2016 to about 27% in 2021 – and has enabled African contractors to bid for African infrastructure-related projects.

AAM2022, which commenced last Wednesday, was held under the theme Realising the AfCFTA Potential in the Post-Covid-19 Era by Leveraging the Power of the Youth’.

Sessions included meetings of the Advisory Group on Trade Finance and Export Development in Africa and the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders of the Bank, complemented by a full programme of seminars and plenaries featuring insights from senior government ministers, senior executives of international and continental organisations and authorities, captains of industry and leading economists, among others.

The meetings were attended by business and political leaders, banking industry professionals, trade and trade finance practitioners and other parties involved in economic development from across Africa and beyond. The Meetings have been ranked among the most important gatherings of economic decision-makers in Africa.

About Afreximbank

The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is a Pan-African multilateral financial institution mandated to finance and promote intra-and extra-African trade. Afreximbank deploys innovative structures to deliver financing solutions that support transformation of the structure of Africa’s trade, accelerating industrialisation and intra-regional trade and thereby boosting economic expansion in Africa.

A stalwart supporter of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), Afreximbank has launched a Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) that was adopted by the African Union (AU) as the payment and settlement platform to underpin implementation of the AfCFTA.

Afreximbank is working with the AU and AfCFTA secretariat to develop an Adjustment Facility to support countries in effectively participating in the AfCFTA. At the end of 2021, the Bank’s total assets and guarantees stood at about US$25billion, and its shareholder funds amounted to US$4billion. Afreximbank disbursed more than US$51billion between 2016 and 2021. The Bank has ratings assigned by GCR (international scale) (A-), Moody’s (Baa1), Japan Credit Rating Agency (JCR) (A-) and Fitch (BBB). The Bank is headquartered in Cairo, Egypt.

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