The African Export-Import Bank (AFREXIMBANK) has said it is partnering with the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) to provide about $1billion financing for the promotion of Nigeria-Africa trade and investment in Africa.
The bank’s Regional Chief Operating Officer Anglophone West Africa, Abdoulaye Kone, who announced this in Abuja on Friday said the arrangement supported by the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), would come in two separate tranches of $500millon each.
Mr Kone said another initiative by the bank is the provision of funding through the Funds for Export Development in Africa, through equity participation in support infrastructure development projects in Africa.
He disclosed this at the official signing of the tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the partnership between the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Nigerian Export-Import bank (NEXIM) and Sealink Promotional Company Limited.
As a pan-African development bank set up in 1993 to promote intra and extra-African trade, the officer said AFREXIMBANK was ready to partner with groups and organisations committed to the promotion of intra-African trade as well as trade with other countries of the world.
Mr Kone said the bank’s interventions were anchored on the offer of credit lines to businesses, risk bearing, and advisory/capital market services.
Through these services, he said AFREXIMBANK has been able to build Africa’s capacity to absorb the external shocks from commodity prices pressures.
“Our Interventions are on four pillars, namely intra-African trade, industrialisation and export development to stabilise the African countries’ economies to face economic shocks; trade finance and financial soundness,” he said.
“We have the objective of growing the percentage of trade between African countries from less than 60 per cent, and trade among European countries by about 65 per cent, and Asia 35 per cent.
“We are working with NEXIM bank to support SMEs (small and medium enterprises) in their effort to trade with the rest of the world.
“We also working on establishing the African Quality Assurance Centre in Ogun State to create the international standard accepted in export countries, to avoid dumping in Nigeria’s markets,” he said.
He said the bank was ready to partner with NEXIM, NEPC and other agencies to promote any initiative to support export trade and infrastructure finance to link the production areas to the market in and outside Nigeria.
According to him, AFREXIMBANK has been discussing with NEXIM and other partners about the Sealink project, considered very important and strategic to the development of intra-African trade.
He said the Sealink initiative was one of the key projects to link other countries in West Africa with the entire continent.
“It takes an average of 45 days to transport goods from Nigeria to Europe. With the Sealink project, it will take not more than two weeks to transports goods from Nigeria to Ghana.
“How can we spend 45 days to transport goods and be competitive, promote trade and increase our share of intra-African trade from 50 to 25 per cent if we are relying on foreign vessels to carry export goods from Nigeria to Ghana, or vice versa? That is why AFRIEXIMBANK is supporting the Sealink project,” he said.
The Managing Director of NEXIM, Abba Bello, said the regional Sealink project was initiated in 2011 to remove the huge logistics challenges and non-tarriff measures along the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) trade corridor.
Mr Bello said NEXIM’s strategic interest to promote the project was to bridge the infrastructure gap, promote and enhance trade connectivity, as well as spur Nigeria’s regional and global trade competitiveness.
He said the interest of the bank to pursue the project was driven by the desire to encourage formal trade and enhance Nigeria’s export to ECOWAS, which has remained muted for several years at about 15 per cent.
To realise these objectives, he said NEXIM introduced the ECOWAS Trade Support Facility (ETSF) designed specifically to also achieve intra-regional trade and development objectives.
Also, the facility was to help increase Nigeria’s trade flow within the ECOWAS sub-region, especially trade in manufactured goods and to broaden the national export basket.
The Sealink project is a public-private-partnership initiative by NEXIM on the prompting of the organised private sector, including the Nigerian Chamber of Commerce Industries, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), as well as the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) Export Group.