After 25 years of operations that kicked off in Abuja, the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) said it has mobilised no fewer than $65 billion worth of loan syndications for trade financing and the development of the continent’s economies.
Nigeria, as a major stakeholder and contributor to the pan-African largest multilateral lender, has received about 40 per cent of the bank’s interventions, covering public investments and private sector working capital, particularly, the banks.
Today, while Nigeria and the rest of the African economies are still battling with financing challenges, the question of what it would have been like for the continent, without the emergence of the bank remains at large.
Meanwhile, the bank noted that there is as much as $120 billion in trade finance gap that needs to be closed; yearly $93 billion trade infrastructure gap; and a global trade share at three per cent, that needs to be raised; while Intra-African trade is still far below aspirations.At the weekend, during the yearly meetings of Afreximbank, part of the $65 billion syndications was injected further into Nigeria’s economy, as the Bank of Industry signed for a $750 million facility for on lending to small businesses.
Also, Aliko Dangote, signed a $650 million loan facility with the for an oil refinery project in Lekki, Nigeria, on a seven-year term loan, with five years moratorium.The government received a provision of $1.8 billion to support the economy during the recent oil price shock between 2015 and 2016, while a provision of liquidity and trade finance lines of more than $800 million was made during the banking consolidation when many international banks cut credit lines to the country.
Currently, Afreximbank’s initiatives in Nigeria include the development of testing and inspection centres across the country in collaboration with the Standards Organization of Nigeria; and establishment of a Centre of Excellence for Tertiary Healthcare/Medical Park.There is ongoing talks to participate in the Nigeria SEZ Investment Company Limited being promoted by the government; the support for industrial projects through loans to strategic banks; provision of trade and letter of credit lines to all Nigerian banks, in close coordination with Central Bank of Nigeria; and development of an Afreximbank Africa Trade Centre in Abuja.
The bank’s President, Dr. Benedict Oramah, told The Guardian that the emergence of the bank was in reaction to challenge by an unprecedented debt crisis that ravaged the continent like a plague those days and as a child of necessity, was conceived for Africa and by Africans and now effectively delivered by Africans.So far, the bank has provided over $50 billion, granted in support of trade and project activities across Africa, supported the emergence of world class hotels across the continent, including upscaling facilities in Island economies like Cape Verde and Seychelles.
The bank prevented the implosion of Zimbabwe by providing an aggregate of about $4 billion to avert hunger and support critical businesses when virtually all international banks cut off the country.“Who would today have stepped in to provide trade services lines in excess of 4 billion to about 500 banks across Africa so that no country can be denied access to trade finance as a result of high compliance cost?
“Who would have supported connectivity among African markets by leveraging close to $3 billion in support of African airline operations?“How would some indigenous Nigerian entities have been able to acquire oil production acreages if the Bank had not stand by them?“Who would have financed the creation of at least 130 thousand metric tonnes of cocoa processing capacity in Cote d’Ivoire and revived processing plants in other major producing countries, namely Ghana and Nigeria?“Who would have provided $9 billion to a number of African central banks and commercial banks at the height of the commodity price induced crises of 2014-16?” he queried.Oramah said Afreximbank is powering the Collective Will of the Continent to boost intra-regional trade and export manufacturing and now about to launch a pan-African payment and settlement platform in support of intra-African trade.
Already, there are SMEs operating in export supply chains with hopes of improved access to finance as a result of the bank’s efforts to promote factoring, such that from almost nothing, Africa can today boast of 32 factoring companies sharing in near trillion dollar global market.President Muhammadu Buhari, while declaring open the bank’s yearly meetings, in Abuja, at the weekend, commended Afreximbank’s strategy in the continent through its dynamism and tenacious leadership, saying the lender had proved that Africans could come together to build something meaningful.
While delivering his keynote address, he said that those attributes had enabled the bank to record the successes so far since its establishment 25 years ago.He noted that the bank’s efforts to integrate Africa through its African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), is already undergoing a careful review, with several consultations to get the inputs of the nation’s diversed professionals, entrepreneurs and investors.South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, who attested to the portents of AfCFTA, being driven by Afreximbank, when adopted, would provide the integrated and diversified markets that will unlock Africa’s full productive capacity.He lamented that “intra-African trade is only 15 per cent of Africa’s total trade, compared to Europe’s 67 per cent and we need a sustained strategic shift to industrialisation, increased Intra-African trade, and de-commoditisation through increased value addition and export diversification.”
Afreximbank’s Chief Economist, Dr. Hippolyte Fofack, said: “The AFCFTA must emphasise policies promoting export diversification for each member country. In addition, efforts must be increased to motivate more technology-intensive manufactured goods.“Given the current average technology and skill content in Intra-African trade, the AFCFTA seems to be well positioned to help achieve and deliver more technology-intensive manufactured goods.”
The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, said that continued infrastructure improvements and a focus on trade, particularly regional trade, would drive sustainable growth.Adeosun commended Afreximbank for its role during the last global recession when it supported many African countries with trade support and lines of credit at a time when others were withdrawing from Africa.
Credit: The Guardian
The Nigeria Federal Government is set to launch the Abuja Rail Mass Transit project later this month.
The project, which is the first light rail system in West Africa, was flagged-off by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2007 in an attempt to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
The Government had earlier disclosed that tracks, as well as 12 stations of the first phase of the projects, were already completed while procurement of rolling stock (wagons, etc) was ongoing.
Tolu Ogunlesi, the special assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on digital media, disclosed that the trial phase took place today, ahead of the launch which has been scheduled to hold later this month.
“Today we tour #AbujaMetro, ahead of the launch. The first light rail system in West Africa. Phase 1 completed; 2 Lines, Yellow and Blue, with Connections to Abuja Airport and the National Rail Line” Ogunlesi tweeted.
“Took us about 20 minutes from Abuja Metro Station direct to Idu, where the #AbujaMetro connects to the National Rail Service (Lagos-Kano/Abuja-Kaduna). There are a couple of stations in between that we didn’t stop at, so the ideal journey will take slightly longer.”
The project would connect the city centre to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport and would offer a light rail transport system that would ease transport challenges in the city.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo initiated the project with an official groundbreaking ceremony in May 2007 in order to host Commonwealth Games in 2014. But lack of funds for the project delayed its completion.
Source: The Guardian
Nigeria and India are making moves to explore opportunities in renewable energy development as part of the international agreements signed by both countries.Indian High Commissioner, Nagabhushana Reddy, at a Business meeting in Abuja, said the home government was committed to deriving at least 30 per cent of its power needs from renewable energy by 2030.
Reddy noted that exploring areas of cooperation in renewable energy would build on existing partnerships between both countries, especially as Nigeria, was member of the International Solar Alliance (ISA).
According to him, ISA intends to provide dedicated platform for cooperation among solar resource rich countries and mobilise $1 trillion funds for future solar generation, storage and technology across the world.He said: “We are opening a new chapter of India-Nigeria economic engagement by moving into the power sector relating to renewable energy. India had been present in Nigeria in the power sector mostly in the areas of distribution and transmission.”
Reddy also said that both countries would sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in the renewable sector to create a joint working group to develop projects for enhanced and effective collaboration.
Earlier, President of Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Kayode Adetokunbo, called on the Federal Government to harmonise policies on renewable energy to create single body for the implementation of relevant policies. Adetokunbo said: “There is no clarity in policies and we need all the advantages solar power and renewable energy can offer and put it in one agency that has multi-sectoral approach so that other relevant agencies can work together as a team.”
He added that promoting synergy among stakeholders would create jobs and fast track economic development in line with the government’s economic growth plan.A representative of Nigerian chapter of Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, Rajneesh Gupta, said that there are ongoing enlightenment campaigns on promoting renewable energy in Nigeria.
He said: “Simba Solar has been educating Nigerians on renewable energy technologies, and how it can deliver value. We are also training electricians and budding entrepreneurs that can key into these technologies to the end users.”“Electricity generation is fluctuating this year, peaking 5,090megawatts as government continued to show determination to produce an energy mix with 30 per cent component of renewable energy out of the gross energy produced by 2030.”
Source: The Guardian