The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) says it is providing one billion dollars grant to African countries to support the implementation of the Agreement for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
In a statement by Afreximbank’s spokesman, Mr Obi Emekekwue, the bank’s president revealed this to the African Heads of States at the 12th Extraordinary Summit of African Union (AU).
The President of the bank, Prof. Benedict Oramah, told the Heads of States, that the facility was to enable countries adjust to sudden significant tariff revenue losses as a result of the implementation of the agreement.
Oramah said the bank will also provide aid for the work being done by the African Regional Standards Organisation and the AU in implementing the agreement.
Oramah also informed the summit of the launch of the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS).
He described the PAPSS as the first continent-wide payment digital system focused on facilitating payments for goods and services in intra-African trade in African currencies.
“We launched the Africa-wide digital payment infrastructure, PAPSS, which was developed in collaboration with the African Union.
“It is a platform that will domesticate intra-regional payments, save the continent more than 5 billion dollars in payment transaction costs per annum.
“It will also help to formalise a significant proportion of the estimated 50 billion dollars of informal intra-African trade, and above all, contribute to boosting intra-African trade,” he said.
Oramah said that making it possible for Africans to pay for intra-regional trade in their local currencies will aid in the development of African economies.
“Our goal is to reduce, significantly, the foreign currency content of intra-African trade payments.
“No people have achieved meaningful development when their economic progress depends on others.
“In trying to boost trade and investment, it is imperative that we address the economic costs of effecting so many payments in scarce foreign exchange.
“Making cross-border payments easier, cheaper and safer is an obvious critical step in creating an Africa we want,” he said.