By Emmanuel Elebeke
The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) says it approved a total of $17 billion financing for Nigerian entities between its commencement of operations in 1994 and last December.
The President of the bank, Dr. Benedict Oramah, disclosed at the weekend when he led an Afreximbank delegation on a visit to President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja.
He said that the Bank’s facilities had made major impact on critical sectors of the Nigerian economy and that the Bank had loans outstanding of about $3.5 billion in Nigeria as at 31 December 2017.
He identified the sectors benefiting from the Bank’s facilities to include: financial institutions, transport, hospitality, manufacturing, agro-allied, oil and gas, power, and telecommunications.
Dr. Oramah said that, ‘‘Afreximbank’s support to Nigeria had included provision of liquidity and trade finance lines of more than $800 million during the banking consolidation when many international banks cut credit lines to the country and the provision of $1.8 billion to support the economy during the recent oil price shock in 2015-2016.’’
‘‘The Bank’s current initiatives in Nigeria to include the development of testing and inspection centres across the country in collaboration with the Standards Organization of Nigeria; establishment of a Centre of Excellence for Tertiary Healthcare/Medical Park; potential participation in the Nigeria SEZ Investment Company Ltd being promoted by the government; support for industrial projects through loans to strategic banks; arrangement and disbursal of $750 million to the Bank of Industry in June; provision of trade and letter of credit lines to all Nigerian banks, in close coordination with Central Bank of Nigeria, in order to ensure access to trade finance; and development of an Afreximbank Africa Trade Centre in Abuja,’’ he stated.
Dr. Oramah added that, ‘‘the Bank is willing to work with the government to arrange financing of up to $1 billion to support the governments investments in trade enabling infrastructure.’’
He invited President Buhari and the Nigerian government to attend the Afreximbank Annual Meetings scheduled to take place in Abuja from 11 to 14 July.
Dr. Oramah also informed President Buhari that Afreximbank was organising the Intra-African Trade Fair in Cairo from 11 to 17 December to promote trade among African countries.
The trade fair, he said ‘‘is being promoted in collaboration with the African Union and the Egyptian government and will be the continent’s single largest trade fair and the first of its kind.
‘‘ It will feature a seven-day trade show where Nigerian businesses could join others to showcase their capital goods and service offerings to a large market, including private sector corporates and government institutions from up to 55 African countries.’’
Responding, President Buhari thanked Dr. Oramah for the visit and commended Afreximbank for its support to the Nigerian economy as well as its work in promoting African trade.
He urged the Bank provide more support to Nigeria’s agriculture sector as a way of boosting jobs and facilitating trade.