The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) since inception has disbursed more than $35 billion in trade and project financing to Nigerian public and private entities to support the economy via trade growth.
The Bank was established in October 1993 by African governments, African private and institutional investors and non-African investors. Since the past 24 years of its establishment, a total of $35 billion has been disbursed to Nigeria to aid trade and economic growth.
Dr. Benedict Oramah, the Bank’s President, disclosed this in Abuja recently when Nigeria’s Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, received him at the State House Abuja. Oramah said that Afreximbank’s current credit exposure to Nigeria stood at $3.5 billion.
Afreximbank’s CEO also revealed that the Bank had launched a number of initiatives aimed at increasing industrial capacity and improving export competitiveness across Africa.
He told Nigeria’s Acting President that disbursals to Nigeria included financing provided to the country’s banking sector to improve trade finance and foreign exchange liquidity, which aided the economy adjust to the current adverse commodity price shock.
The disbursements, according to the bank chief also included facilities arranged for entities in the export processing, manufacturing, aviation and hospitality sectors as well as loans granted to help local companies to acquire and operate oil mining leases that had been divested by major international oil companies .
“In line with the Bank’s IMPACT 2021 Strategy, we are assisting our member countries in transforming their economies by financing their industrialisation and export manufacturing with a strong focus on intra-regional trade promotion,” continued Dr. Oramah, who said that the Bank had launched a number of initiatives aimed at increasing industrial capacity and improving export competitiveness.
Some of those initiatives, which will be hosted in Nigeria, were the establishment of an internationally accredited inspection and certification centre to improve compliance of African exports with international technical and sanitary requirements; the creation of industrial and export processing zones dedicated to light manufacturing and agro-processing; and the construction of Africa’s first center of excellence in medical services through Afreximbank’s strategic alliance with King’s College Hospital, London, which aims to attract medical tourism and reduce the outflow of Africans seeking world-class treatment abroad.
Dr. Oramah announced that, as part of its commitment to improve access to international finance and trade services, the Bank had renewed and provided new credit lines and letter of credit confirmations to Nigerian banks, with the current exposure exceeding $1 billion.
According to him, the Bank is creating capacity in Nigeria for small and medium enterprises to access working capital finance through its factoring programme. As a result of training sessions and seminars conducted by the Bank in the country, factoring companies have been emerging and progress has been made in developing a legal framework for the growth of that activity in Nigeria, he added.
Prof. Osinbajo thanked Afreximbank for its continued support to Nigeria and commended the Bank for constantly seeking innovative solutions to bridge the trade finance gap in Africa and for reinforcing the continent’s capacity to respond to external economic shocks.
He reaffirmed Nigeria’s support for the Bank’s mandate and stressed the importance of strengthening the private sector’s role and contribution to the continent’s trade development agenda.
Present at the meeting were Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, the Minister of Trade and Investment, and several members of the Nigerian cabinet.
The Afreximbank delegation held further meetings with Muhammad Musa Bello, Minister in charge of Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory; Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, the Minister of Finance, and Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Rene Awambeng, Director, Client Relations; Abdoulaye Kone, Regional Manager, Anglophone West Africa; Richman Dzene, Special Assistant to the President; Peter Olowononi of the Client Relations Department; and Fleur Tchibota of the Communications Department, accompanied the Afreximbank president to visit Nigeria’s acting president.