Bilateral trade deals & MoUs signed to deepen Africa-Caribbean economic ties

Rene Awambeng, Director/Global Head Client Relations, Afreximbank (extreme left); Intong Eric Monchu, Afreximbank Regional Chief Operating Officer, Anglophone West Africa (extreme right); with Ms. Kanayo Awani, Executive Vice President-Intra-African Trade Bank (second from right), displaying signed agreement document after the signing ceremony

About fourteen (14) bilateral trade deals and memorandums of understanding (MoUs) aimed at deepening economic ties between Africa and the Caribbean have been signed at the just-ended three-day AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum 2022 (ACTIF2022) hosted in Bridgetown, Barbados, in the Caribbean.

The agreements – expected to form the foundation for strengthened bilateral relationships, trade and investment ties – marked the culmination of this historic forum held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre from 1 to 3 September which, for the first time, brought together the private and public sectors of Africa and the Caribbean.

Key among the signings was the Partnership Agreement between the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and seven Caribbean countries – Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname. This partnership agreement sets the platform for increasing trade and investment ties between the two regions, and sets a framework for cooperation to promote and finance south-south trade between African and Caribbean countries.

A Trade and Investment Agreement signed between Afreximbank and the central bank of Barbados (CBB) will see the deployment of a US$250million Trade and Investment Finance Promotion Programme, aimed at mobilising trade and investment between Africa and the Caribbean in collaboration with CBB and local banks in Barbados. Afreximbank will work with CBB to promote its instruments of intervention with public and private enterprises to provide financing for Caribbean entities to grow their volumes of trade and investment; and to promote knowledge-sharing between Africa and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) through technical cooperation, research and joint events.

Other agreements signed include a US$150million Revolving Import Finance Facility Agreement between Afreximbank and MRS Oil & Gas for the importation of refined products, exportation of crude oil, as well as crude oil vs refined products swaps, and pre-delivery of petroleum against crude allocations; a US$10million Letter of Credit Issuance Facility Term Sheet with Woodhall Capital Limited to finance the procurement of refined petroleum products for supply to the international oil companies operating in Nigeria; and a N16.56billion Dual Tranche Facility Term Sheet with Ganic Foods Limited for the construction of a 500TPD soyabean solvent extraction plant, 300TPD soya and palm kernel oils refinery, and 400TPD palm kernel expellers in Abeokuta, Nigeria.

The Forum also witnessed the signing of an MoU Establishing the Africa Caribbean Business Council. Entered into by Afreximbank, the Africa Business Council and Caribbean Private Sector Organisation, the MoU is aimed at private sector cooperation and joint action pursuant to deepening business, trade, investment and people relations among the private sector and people of CARICOM and the African Union. It will establish the Africa Caribbean Business Council as a formal, structured mechanism for substantive and effective cooperation between the parties, in pursuit of the shared objective of strengthening the private sector’s participation in the sustainable development of both CARICOM and AU member-states.

An MoU between Afreximbank and the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation seeks to facilitate their collaboration in establishing working arrangements necessary for the delivery of sustainable financing for the proposed Exim Bank of Barbados; meanwhile, another MoU between Afreximbank and the Caribbean Association of Banks (CAB) aims to provide a framework of cooperation for supporting the promotion of trade, investment and economic development through Afreximbank within Africa and CAB and its members, by strengthening their mutual capacities, exchange of information and knowledge, and by enhancing trade information and cross-border payments within and between Africa and the Caribbean.

Afreximbank also signed an MoU with the International Trade Centre to continue their collaboration in harmonising efforts for the promotion of trade and economic development, while the Ghana Export Promotion Authority and Barbados Investment and Development Corporation signed an MoU for the promotion of trade and export cooperation between them.

A final MoU among the Barbados Investment Development Corporation, Ghana Union of Trade Associations and Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry will promote and strengthen the expansion of trade, economic ties and contacts between the business communities of Ghana and Barbados for cooperation and mutual benefit.

ACTIF2022 was convened by the government of Barbados and Afreximbank in collaboration with the African Union Commission, AfCFTA Secretariat, Africa Business Council, CARICOM Secretariat and the Caribbean Export Development Agency, and it was co-managed by Invest Barbados and Export Barbados.

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