The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has been awarded the 2020 Africa-America Institute (AAI) ‘International Institution of Excellence Award’, during the Institute’s 36th Virtual Awards Gala.
Becoming the first organisation to receive the award in the history of the institute since its establishment in 1953, Afreximbank was honored this award for its commitment to the creation and implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and its ongoing dedication to investing in education. Between 2015 and 2019, Afreximbank disbursed more than $30 billion in support of African trade, with over $15 billion channeled towards the financing and promotion of intra-Africa trade.
The Bank was also recognized for its response and support to African countries in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bank was introduced by AAI Trustee, Khumo Shongwe and the Executive Director of the LEGATUM Center, MIT, Dina Sherif. The award was presented by the Director-General of the East Africa Development Bank, Vivienne Yeda Apopo.
In accepting the award, Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank, commented: “At Afreximbank, we are very proud of the work we are doing to support Africa and this award recognizes the hard work and commitment from my colleagues. We are focused on promoting intra-African trade, especially through the African Continental Free Trade Agreement as we believe that greater trade and regional integration with the continent will make it possible for Africa to transform itself from a commodity dependent economy to one dynamized by value creation. I am confident this will lead to the creation of many opportunities for a growing youth population.”
Other distinguished group of leaders that received awards include:
- The President Leadership Award– AAI Alumnus, Mahamadou Issoufou, President of the Republic of Niger.
- The National Achievement Award– The People of the Republic of Senegal, to be accepted by President Macky Sall.
- The Distinguished Alumna Award– Ms. Claude Borna, Managing Director and Chief Innovation Officer, Sèmè City Development Agency
- The African Diaspora Equity and Justice Award– Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
- The Leadership in Arts & Culture Award: Issa Rae, Emmy Nominated Actress, Producer and Writer.
These awards recognize and honor distinguished group of leaders who are using their influence and creativity to affect real and measurable change.
The Africa-America Institute (AAI) is the flagship U.S. organization connecting Africa to America. Since inception, the AAI has been committed to promoting enlightened engagement between Africa and America through strengthening human capacity of Africans and promoting the continent’s development of education, training and dialogue.
Institutions previously honoured include: The Africa Union (AAI Institutional Legacy Award) and the FIFA World Cup, South Africa Leadership Team (AAI Business Leadership Award).
Fitch affirms Afreximbank’s BBB- credit rating
The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) announces that Fitch Ratings has affirmed the Bank’s long-term Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) at ‘BBB-‘with a stable outlook. The agency also affirmed the Bank’s Short-Term IDR at ‘F3’ and senior unsecured debt at ‘BBB-‘.
Fitch highlighted that Afreximbank’s ‘BBB-‘ rating is driven by its intrinsic features, including solvency and liquidity, and adding that the ongoing and expected capital increases support the resilience of the bank’s solvency during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The agency noted that “the strong capitalization is underpinned by the equity to assets guarantees ratio at 18.1% in 2019, close to 2018 level (18.5%) as the bank’s expansion has been broadly matched by paid-in capital payments from the ongoing US$1 billion capital increase (targeted to be completed by end-2021, 91% had been raised by end-H1 2020) and internal capital generation”.
Fitch further noted that a high level of loan collateralization (88% of the facilities), credit insurances from ‘A’ rated insurers and hedging strategies on commodity backed facilities, have all helped the Bank maintain a low impairment ratio of 2.4% on a 10-year average, “despite its ‘high’ risk operating environment.” Fitch observes that the Bureau of African Union Heads of States and Governments recently endorsed a significant increase to Afreximbank’s subscribed capital, which will further support the resilience of the Bank’s solvency amid COVID-19 related pressures on asset quality.
The agency expressed the view that Afreximbank’s PATIMFA facility, which is supporting African nations during the pandemic, will incentivize sovereigns to remain current on loan repayments with the Bank.
Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank, said:
“Afreximbank is pleased to receive this positive affirmation from Fitch and we have full confidence in our resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through strong liquidity and robust risk management, we have ensured that we have the solid foundation needed to support Africa’s post-pandemic recovery and the continued expansion of intra-African trade.
Our strategic response to COVID-19, and the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, will only strengthen our position, reinforcing our role as a key driver of the continent’s economic development.”
Bright future forecast for the automotive sector and youth start-ups in Africa
Afreximbank, in collaboration with the African Union, has hosted the second of its five webinars raising awareness for the African continent’s premier trade event, the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2021), to be held in Kigali, Rwanda, from 6 – 12 September 2021, under the theme ‘Building Bridges for a Successful AfCFTA.’
Dave Coffey, CEO of the African Association of Automotive Manufacturers (AAAM) highlighted the huge potential of African markets to be the next major opportunity for the global and domestic automotive sector with its young demographic profile, rapid population growth and urbanisation, burgeoning middle class and technology all suggesting exponential growth in demand.
He said: “We regard the ‘Pan African Auto Pact’ as the potential gamechanger for the development of the African automobile market, through its potential to connect African regions to create a harmonised portfolio with distributed value chains and manufacturing, started with a ‘coalition of the willing.”
In a second presentation on the African Automotive sector, Gainmore Zanamwe of Afreximbank’s Intra-African Trade Initiative, focused on the bright prospects for the sector through the further development of regional value chains. He said: “Through these initiatives, we could see the new vehicle sales increase from 1 million to 5 million sales a year across the continent.”
Afreximbank’s strategy for the Automotive industry includes:
- Automotive Financing – providing financing and risk-sharing to industry players and consumers;
- Regional Automotive Value Chains – Fostering the emergence of regional value hubs with focus on value-added manufacturing created through joint ventures between global Original Equipment Manufacturers, tier 1 suppliers and local partners; and
- Policy and Capacity Building – Supporting the setting of the right automotive policies and capacity building programmes.
Allan Majuru, CEO of ZimTrade, stressed the importance of Youth start-ups in driving growth in African economies, with their key advantages being their technology savviness, innovation, risk taking, early adopting and game-changing mentality, and their ability to work smart. To reach their potential, significant support is required in the form of capacity development and mentoring, networking, access to finance, supportive infrastructure, enabling policies and market linkages.
Emery Rubagenga, CEO and Founder of Ishango, examined the challenges facing Youth start-ups and SMEs in Africa which include access to finance, infrastructure deficits, the need for more countries to join Rwanda and Ghana in creating an enabling environment for start-ups, differential laws and regulations across the continent and significant competition.
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) promises to provide exponential opportunities through its creation of a single liberalised continental market with free movement of both capital and people.
In addition to the immense trade and investment opportunities proffered by the AfCFTA, the event also highlighted the importance of attending the IATF2021 for all those involved in African trade and investments.
IATF2021 will provide a unique and valuable platform for businesses to explore a single integrated African market of over 1.3 billion people with a combined GDP of over US$2.5 trillion.