KIGALI, June 28 – African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) president, Benedict Oramah, said on Wednesday that the African diaspora constituted a large economy outside the continent, and that Africa needed to develop strategies to attract it back into trading within its borders.
Oramah decried the lack of market knowledge sating that it was a challenge for African countries, hence they were missing out on vast economic and trade opportunities with their neighbouring countries.
“We want to expand trade within Africa and with Africans in the diaspora. In fact, we must take the diaspora as the 55th country of Africa,” Oramah said.
“We need to integrate 16 million Africans in the diaspora who generate U.S.$63 billion in remittances for the continent and save U.S.$50 billion annually. We want to bring that economy back to Africa.”
Oramah was speaking during the opening of Afreximbank’s 24th Annual General Meeting (AGM) under the theme “Trade as a catalyst for industrialising Africa” in Kigali, Rwanda.
Trade growth spells are shorter and few and far between in Africa. At 15 percent, intra-African trade represents the lowest regional trade figures compared to 62 percent in Europe and 45 percent in Asia.
Oramah said that intra-Africa trade currently being conducted informally was worth between U.S.$40 billion to U.S.$60 billion a year, adding that Afreximbank wanted to make Africa relevant in the global arena by prioritising all sectors that boost intra-African trade.
“Declining demand for African of commodities has left Africa vulnerable. We need diversification and structural transformation,” Denys Denya, executive vice president of Afreximbank, said.
“Afreximbank will support trade within Africa with its Resource Mobilisation Unit with U.S.$10 billion over five years to recover from commodity shock.”
Denya said Afreximbank’s new IMPACT 2021 Strategy would address old and new challenges facing African countries’ development.
Afreximbank has provided U.S.$155 million direct financing to Rwanda in support of various development projects, including financing industrial parks, aviation expansion, trade and the public sector.
Rwanda and Afreximbank are also expected will sign a deal that will see the country receive substantial funding at the end of the summit on Saturday.
-African News Agency (ANA)