By Amadou Labba Sall
The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) last week launched its Central Africa Regional Office in Yaoundé, Cameroon. The new office covers the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), composed of Cameroon, the Central Africa Republic, Chad, Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
The establishment of the Central Africa Regional Office continues Afreximbank’s path of strategic geographic growth. The new branch in Yaoundé brings the number of regional offices Afreximbank operates across Africa to five. In 2019, the Bank opened its East Africa Regional Office located in Kampala (Uganda) in addition to its network of three previously established regional branches in Abuja (Nigeria), Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire) and Harare (Zimbabwe).
Afreximbank’s deepening geographic footprint reflects the remarkable expansion of the Bank’s member states from 37 to 51 since 2015. With this vast membership, Afreximbank recognized the need to be closer to its markets and clientele.
With trading having commenced under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), Afreximbank’s regional offices are geared to serve as anchors for the delivery of intra-african trade finance and facilitation services that are critical to the seamless conduct of trade across Africa.
In the medium to long term, the Central Africa Regional Office will deepen the financial services sector through improving and expanding the region’s access to affordable and competitive financing, as well as advisory services, to a constituency of local banks, national exporters, importers and investors. Afreximbank’s pan-African reach will further open up the region to new trading opportunities and partnerships across the continent.
The opening of the Central Africa Regional Office in Yaoundé lays the foundation for the development of the Afreximbank Africa Trade Centre (AATC) for Central Africa. This iconic building will house the Bank’s regional operations and also host a range of relevant facilities including a world class hotel, a trade information centre, a conference facility, and a trade exhibition facility, among others. Through this major investment in infrastructure, Cameroon’s attractiveness to further similar investments will be significantly enhanced. This constitutes part of a larger strategic programme to develop the Bank’s regional offices and Headquarters into a network of Afreximbank Africa Trade Centres (AATCs).
Dr. Joseph Dion Ngute, Prime Minister of Cameroon, said:
“The Afreximbank Central Africa Regional Office enriches the institutional architecture of our capital which already hosts several representations of international, regional and sub-regional financial organisations. It was after a very competitive process that the city of Yaoundé was chosen to host this office. Its opening was confirmed on 13 December 2019 with the signing of a Headquarters Agreement and a Memorandum of Understanding. Since then, the Cameroonian Government has spared no effort to fulfil its commitments to make this representation operational. The Yaoundé Regional Office will thus be a hub for the Afreximbank’s operations, activities and projets in countries of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).”
Professor Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank, said:
“We are excited to launch the Central Africa Regional Office, furthering Afreximbank’s footprint across all Africa’s main sub-regions. We are grateful to the Cameroonian government for their unwavering support. With the opening of the office, the Bank’s services will become more easily available across the Central Africa region. The Bank will also be in a better position to support the implementation of the AfCFTA.
“With the opening of this office, we aim to more than triple the Bank’s interventions in the Central Africa Region to exceed US$5 billion in 5 years. We aim to use the Bank’s Investment and Country Risk Guarantees to attract African Direct Investment as well as Foreign Direct Investments amounting to over US$4 billion in the sub-region by five years. We will expand the number of banks benefiting from the Afreximbank’s Trade Services facilities in Central Africa Region from 4 (Cameroon 3 and DRC 1) to 15 banks in two years and expand their trade finance lines from US$85 million to US$500 million by 2025.
“The opening of this Regional Office in Yaoundé fulfils our strategic commitment – under our Plan dubbed IMPACT 2021: Africa Transformed, approved by our Board in December 2016 – to cover all the regions of the African continent and thereby truly establish the Bank as a pan-African institution.”
African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is a Pan-African multilateral financial institution mandated to finance and promote intra-and extra-African trade. Afreximbank deploys innovative structures to deliver financing solutions that support the transformation of the structure of Africa’s trade, accelerating industrialization and intra-regional trade, thereby boosting economic expansion in Africa. The Bank has a rich history of intervening in support of African countries in times of crisis. Through the Pandemic Trade Impact Mitigation Facility (PATIMFA) launched in April 2020, Afreximbank has disbursed more than US$6.5 billion in 2020 to help member countries manage the adverse impact of financial, economic, and health shocks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. A stalwart supporter of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), Afreximbank has completed the development of a Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) that was adopted by the African Union (AU) as the payment and settlement platform to underpin the implementation of the AfCFTA. Afreximbank is working with the AU and the AfCFTA Secretariat to develop an Adjustment Facility to support countries in effectively participating in the AfCFTA. At the end of 2020, the Bank’s total assets and guarantees stood at US$21.5 billion, and its shareholder funds amounted to US$3.4 billion. Afreximbank disbursed more than US$42 billion between 2016 and 2020. The Bank has ratings assigned by GCR (international scale) (A-), Moody’s (Baa1) and Fitch (BBB-). The Bank is headquartered in Cairo, Egypt.
For more information, visit: www.afreximbank.com.