The African Export-Import Bank, Afreximbank, has disbursed more than $35 billion in trade and project financing to Nigerian public and private entities since its inception to support the country’s economic and trade growth, bank president, Benedict Oramah, has said.
Speaking on Tuesday when Nigeria’s acting president, Yemi Osinbajo, received him in audience in Abuja, Mr Oramah said Afreximbank’s current credit exposure to Nigeria stood at $3.5 billion.
He told the acting president that the bank’s disbursals to Nigeria included financing provided to the country’s banking sector to improve trade finance and foreign exchange liquidity, which helped the economy adjust to the recent adverse commodity price shock.
It 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, he added.
“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,” Mr Oramah said.
He said 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.
Mr 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.
He added that 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.
In his remark, Mr Osinbajo thanked Afreximbank for its continued support to Nigeria, commending it 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 Okechukwu Enelamah, the minister of Trade and Investment, and several members of the Nigerian cabinet.
The Afreximbank delegation held further meetings with Muhammad Bello, minister in charge of Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory; Kemi Adeosun, the minister of Finance, and Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Accompanying the President from Afreximbank were Rene Awambeng, director of Client Relations; Abdoulaye Kone, regional manager of Anglophone West Africa; Richman Dzene, special assistant to the president; Peter Olowononi of the Client Relations Department; and Fleur Tchibota of the Communications department.