AYV News May 11, 2023
African Export-Import Bank (AfreximBank), one of the top shareholders in Arise Integrate Industrial Platform (ARISE IIP), has disclosed plans to invest One Billion United States dollars to support businesses in Sierra Leone in a move to add to the country’s GDP.
Afreximbank signed a cooperation agreement with Arise IIP, establishing a partnership through which the Bank will offer financial and non-financial interventions to tenants in Arise Industrial Parks (IPs).
AfreximBank held its second Sierra Leone Trade Road show on 9th and 10th May, 2023 and organised by Oakwood Green Africa in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade and Industry with the theme: “Sustaining the Intra-Africa Trade Drive: Navigating The Last Mile.”
AfreximBank Regional Chief Operating Officer Anglophone West Africa, Eric MonchuIntong said the support ranges from providing loans and other ways of funding.
Mr. MonchuIntong said: “This is not a period of lamentation, but a time to take positive strides. It gladdens my heart that after sixty-two years of independence, Africa now has brains that are thinking of how to address Africa’s problems.
“AfreximBank is a Bank that has the vision of Africa at heart. The job we do at Afrexim Bank is that of a missionary. We are more of a vocation and not profession.”
He expressed concern that with all its mineral resources, Sierra Leone is still called a poor country. He said the Bank’s partnership with Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Trade will not only be in good times but also in bad times, adding that they finance intra-Africa trade and ACFTA implementation and promotes and support export manufacturing.
He said they also expanded and deepened trade finance offerings and maintaining solid profitability equality, capital adequacy and asset quality and how, the Bank makes a meaningful impact on the Africa Trade.
According to him, AfreximBank developed the Export Trading Companies (ETCs) Initiative to facilitate the emergence and expansion of ETCs in Africa as part of efforts to increase intra-African trade under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA) and accelerate the industrialisation/export development process in the continent.
He also revealed how the ETC Initiative provides a range of financing instruments as well as trade facilitation interventions to support the emergence of new ETCs or expansion of existing ETCs.
Sierra Leone’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr. Edward Hinga Sandy said: “The roadshow is geared towards looking at how we can reinforce the private sector in helping them on how to expand their businesses”.
He assured them that, they have the full support of the Government, stating how, what they cannot find in the country, the AfreximBank will bring it as they are already supporting a number of businesses in the country.
The minister disclosed that a number of things are required from the businesses as well furthering that the Private Sector businesses now have the means of contacting support through the aforementioned Bank.
“It is time for you to reflect on what you can do to make business and transaction optimize their full potentials. The African continent has trade agreements which allow them to trade amongst themselves and how the opportunities are huge.
“We have created legislations to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive underscoring how the GEWE Bill is also for the private sector to not only bring women onboard Executive tables but also into businesses and how 68% of those engaged in cross border trade are women”.
Chief Executive Officer of Oakwood Green Africa Limited, Gabriel Edgal, intimated that they gathered to remind themselves about the power that is in unity disclosing that they were encouraged by the first roadshow and that is why they organized the second one.
He disclosed that they started working with businesses since last year furthering how they will continue to support Africa trade and investment, as they have a collective history of challenges.
“The importance of intra-Africa Trade is more important now than ever before. We must achieve this goal by working together,” he confidently said.
According to Gabriel Edgal the country is in strategic position to play a major role in the intra-Africa Trade noting that more effort is needed in the agriculture sector, and how it is a huge sector to invest.
He said: “Why are we called the third world when we are the richest? Why it is that trade across borders are difficult? Why is our trade only on importation and not production? Why transportation across African countries is so frustrating?”
He said those are the questions Oakwood Green Africa and Afrexim Bank aim to solve and according to him Africa has no business being poor.
The African Export-Import Bank (AfreximBank) was established in Abuja, Nigeria in October, 1993 by African Governments, African private and institutional investors as well as non-African financial institutions and private investors for the purpose of financing, promoting and expanding intra-African and extra-African trade.
The Bank, headquartered in Cairo, the capital of the Arab Republic of Egypt, commenced operations on 30 September, 1994, following the signature of a Headquarters Agreement with the host Government in August, 1994. It has branch offices in Harare, Abuja and Abidjan and will open an East Africa branch office shortly.