Posted by News Express | 26 March 2019 | 2,890 times
The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is developing a Pan-African Payment and Settlement Platform to facilitate intra-African trade payments and settlement in African currencies.
President of the Cairo, Egypt-based bank, Prof. Benedict Oramah, disclosed this on Tuesday while delivering The Bullion Lecture 2019 at The Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos.
He said that “the Platform, which is expected to be launched during the second quarter of 2019, will reduce the use of foreign currencies in settling intra-African trade thereby potentially boosting intra-African trade by at least 40 percent.”
Prof. Oramah recalled that Afreximbank in 2018 launched, and hosted the maiden edition of the Intra-African Trade Fair, which is expected to facilitate networking, information exchange and cross border trade.
“The fair aims to create a true pan African trade platform for effective interaction among African entrepreneurs. In line with expectation, the inaugural Trade Fair held in Cairo in December 2018 attracted over 7,000 participants, over 1,000 exhibitors and trade deals worth more than US$32 billion,” he said.
Prof. Oramah, who spoke on the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and how it may help propel Africa and Nigeria’s development, highlighted the various challenges impeding intra-African trade but assured that Afreximbank is working hard to find solutions to these challenges. On the AfCFTA, Prof. Oramah observed that it “presents enormous opportunities for Africa to transform the structure of its economy but this cannot be realised without the participation of all economies, particularly large trading economies as Nigeria.”
He noted that “the issues surrounding trade treaties can be complex”, adding: “Benefits can sometimes come slowly and episodic disappointments are likely. That is why we believe that the Nigerian Government acted wisely in broadening the consultations with all interested parties. It is that kind of consultation that will strengthen the Government’s hands to negotiate tariff and other concessions when it eventually makes the decision to join.
“If the decision is that Nigeria should join the AfCFTA, consultations must be rapidly concluded so that the country joins the trading bloc at inception to participate fully in the consultations on a number of key parameters. Adjustments in domestic policies and incentive structure should be made to boost domestic production capacities to take advantage of the large continental market.
“Afreximbank, while contributing to the creation of capacity for cross border trade in several countries, is equally willing to provide additional support to countries that require financial and technical support in creating a strong economic foundation for the adoption of the AfCFTA.”
Organised by the Lagos-based Centre for Financial Journalism, the annual lecture attracted a broad spectrum of decision makers, economic stakeholders and the media.
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