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Afreximbank appoints Kanayo Awani new vice-president for intra-African trade bank

Mrs. Kanayo Awani

By Okeoghene Akubuike

Abuja, June 20, 2022

The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), has announced the appointment of Ms. Kanayo Awani as the Executive Vice-President of the Intra-African Trade Bank (INAT) with effect from July 1.

This is contained in a statement signed by Afreximbank’s Media Contact, Amadou Sall, on Monday in Abuja.

According to Sall, Awani is the new executive division of Afreximbank responsible for driving all Afreximbank intra-African trade activities, including all its African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) implementation engagements.

He said the appointment followed a decision by Afreximbank’s Board of Directors on June 13, based on the recommendation by the Bank’s President, Prof. Benedict Oramah.

Sall said Awani had served as the Managing Director of Afreximbank’s Intra-African Trade Initiative from May 18, 2016, where she was responsible for assisting the Bank in ensuring the attainment of its Intra-African Trade Strategy.

“In that capacity, she successfully led Afreximbank’s engagements in support of the establishment and implementation of the AfCFTA.

“She also championed the Bank’s support for the negotiations that culminated in the signing of the AfCFTA agreement in Kigali in March 2018.”

Sall said Awani was also responsible for growing the Bank’s business attributed to intra-African trade from around three per cent in 2016 to 28 per cent by the end of 2021.

“This led to the disbursement of 20 billion dollars in support of intra-African trade and investments in five years.”

According to Sall, Awani, also led the establishment and deployment of the Bank’s Intra-African Trade Champions programme, making it possible for major African businesses to expand their operations into other African countries.

“This led to creating true African conglomerates and making “Made in Africa” products available across Africa with the Bank cumulatively supporting over 25 contract awards estimated at about 10 billion dollars.”

He said Awani was also responsible for the introduction and organisation of the biennial Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF), delivering the first edition, IATF2018, in Cairo in December 2018 and IATF2021 in Durban.

“IATF2021 successfully brought together 32,541 visitors from 128 countries and 1,501 exhibitors from 69 countries, resulting in the closing of trade and investment deals worth 42 billion dollars.”

Sall said previously, Awani was the Director of Afreximbank’s Trade Finance and Branches Department which drove the Bank’s business development efforts in trade finance across Africa.

The statement quoted Oramah the Bank’s President as saying “the appointment recognises the instrumental role Awani has played in championing intra-African trade over the last several years.

“It also demonstrates the Board’s confidence in her ability to provide much-needed leadership as Afreximbank notches up its drive to further boost intra-African trade.

“This will be done through the establishment of a focused purpose-driven intra-African trade bank alongside its activities underpinning the AfCFTA.”

The statement said before joining Afreximbank in 2009, Awani served with Citigroup from 1990 to 2008, with responsibilities in Trade Services and Operations, Corporate Finance, and Corporate Banking.

She rose to the position of Vice- President/Head of Industrial and Commercial Corporates at Citigroup Nigeria.

Awani holds a Master of Public Administration, with a major in International Trade and Finance, from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, USA.

She also obtained a Bachelor of Science in Estate Management from the University of Nigeria.

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