The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) says it will soon engage digital ecosystem with the support of the African Union (AU) to eliminate the major bottlenecks to trade flow within Africa.
In a statement, the bank said that its President, Prof. Benedict Oramah, gave the assurance at the Initiative for Global Development (IGD) Frontier 100 Forum on the sidelines of the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings in Washington D.C.
The statement, issued in Lagos on Tuesday, was signed by Mr Obi Emekekwue, the Director and Global Head of Communications and Events Management in Afreximbank.
It said that the digital ecosystem would improve access to trade information, which it identified as one of the major constraints to intra-African trade and investments.
“This is why many African countries are importing products from outside the continent while neighbouring countries are exporting the same products at a much lower cost.
“It is to address the challenge that Afreximbank and the African Union are working to use digital technology to improve access to trade information and facilitate the use of African national currencies via intra African trade settlements,” it said.
It added that Afreximbank was developing a focused programme to support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) across the continent since SMEs were vital to unlocking intra-African potential.
It lauded IGD for facilitating discourse on important African issues over the years; hence its close partnership with the initiative.
Afreximbank also quoted Leila Ndiaye, President and Chief Executive Officer of IGD, as saying that IGD was supporting Africa’s growth and development agenda and pushing to unlock intra-African trade through SMEs growth and development.
Afreximbank is the foremost pan-African multilateral financial institution devoted to financing and promoting intra and extra African trade.
The bank was established in October 1993 by African governments, African private and institutional investors, and non-African investors.
Its two basic constitutive documents are the Establishment Agreement, which gives it the status of an international organisation, and the Charter, which governs its corporate structure and operations.
Since 1994, it has approved more than $67 billion in credit facilities for African businesses, including $7.2 billion in 2018.
Afreximbank had total assets of $13.4 billion as at Dec. 31 2018.
The bank, headquartered in Cairo, is rated BBB+ (GCR), Baa1 (Moody’s) and BBB- (Fitch).