Afreximbank seeks channels for cross-border trade

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AfCFTA: Afreximbank okays $500m for manufacturersThe President, African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), Prof Benedict Oramah, has urged African countries to create vehicles that would make it possible for manufacturers to trade across the continent.

Oramah, who spoke yesterday in New York during a high-level event on the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa, 2016-2019, organised at the United Nations Headquarters, said manufacturers needed somebody to handle the export and trading of their products as they were not equipped for those roles.

He said export trading has been one of the approaches used to tackle that challenge, adding that the creation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) also attempted to address the issue.

Prof. Oramah said that previous efforts by African countries to use manufacturing and industrialisation as engines for development and growth had failed, largely as a result of issues, such as lack of access to market, lack of capital and skills and inadequate infrastructure, pointing out that many large-scale investors had little interest in investing in Africa in a massive way because of the fragmented nature of the African market.

He said  Africa should focus more on labour-intensive manufacturing which had more net effect on the population than on capital intensive industries, stressing the need for Africa to focus on skills development, in particular, by going back to building technical schools and supporting universities of technology in order to equip people with the right skills for the kind of jobs that were beginning to emerge.

He said Afreximbank has launched an equity investment fund – the Fund for Export Development in Africa, which would help attract foreign direct investment to support industrialisation and manufacturing in Africa.

Also participating in the session were Director-General, United Nations Industrial Organisation; Li Yong, African Union Commissioner for Trade and Industry; Albert Muchanga, President, African Development Bank; Dr. Adewunmi Adesina, Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Dr. Vera Songwe and the Vice Chairman, AfroChampions Club, Ali Mufuruki.

The high-level event, held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, had the theme “Promoting innovation and infrastructure development: A pathway for boosting manufacturing in the Fourth Industrial Revolution”.


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