By Etuka Sunday
African Export Import Bank (Afreximbank) has committed US$250 million as seed capital towards the establishment of an African Sub Sovereign Governments Network.
Prof. Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank made the announcement yesterday during an inaugural conference of the Sub Sovereign Governments at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban, on the sidelines of the second Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF 2021).
The Sub Sovereign Governments Network, is yet another ingenious strategic initiative by the Bank, aimed at firmly establishing an intra-continental trade investment development frontier.
While appreciating the political rationale behind the creation of devolved government systems in most African countries, Prof. Oramah observed that only through supporting and strengthening trade and investment initiatives at such deeper levels of citizen administration, will Africa be able to fully realise the potential value of its much vaunted 1.3 billion population as a captivating common market for goods and services.
“African Sub Sovereign Governments have not had a platform to converge to share and explore their experiences, challenges and opportunities, unlike their Unitary Governments and the Private Sector,” added Prof. Oramah.
The seed capital committed by the Bank will go towards supporting technical assistance, trade upgrade, provision of trade intelligence solutions and sponsorship of studies for exploitation of available opportunities among others, as the continent solidifies its mechanisms towards achieving its 2063 Agenda – the Africa We Want.
The conference was attended by the host KZN Premier H.E Sihle Zikalala who received accolades from Prof. Oramah on his role in setting in motion the Sub Sovereign Governments Network idea. In his remarks Premier Zikalala said: “AfreximBank has played an exemplary role in supporting projects that seek to grow the slice of the African economy while also building vital bridges among the Continent’s Nations and sub sovereigns.
“Indeed, there are many lessons that other financing institutions can learn from AfreximBank, on how to deploy innovative structures to deliver financing solutions that support the transformation of the structure of Africa’s trade, thereby accelerating industrialization and intra-regional trade.”
Through this Network, the Bank envisages a vehicle for the promotion of intra continental trade and investment, as it will provide a platform which will ensure a broad and inclusive participation of companies, particularly those located outside the traditional capital cities, in the African Continental Free Trade Area –AfCFTA owing to the decentralization of access to information, the sharing of ideas, knowledge and skills, greater grassroots interconnections and involvement, as well as becoming a conduit for Afreximbank to deepen its interventions in various communities within its member countries.
In a joint communique issued at the end of the conference, the delegates agreed that membership of the network will be based on the duly recognized sub sovereigns namely Provinces, Governorates and Counties as defined by individual country constitutions. An interim Secretariat to coordinate activities of the Network was formed with its membership drawn from KwaZulu Natal Province of South Africa, the Cairo Governate of Egypt, the Kaduna State of Nigeria and the Kitui County of Kenya. The interim Secretariat will serve until a substantive one will have been constituted in due course.