By Etuka Sunday
African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), signed a US$250 million facility to provide funds for the Bank to advance procurement of COVID-19 vaccines and drive a trade-based economic recovery.
The agreement was signed between Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank and Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO ITFC during the official visit of Prof. Oramah and the Afreximbank delegation to the ITFC Headquarters in Jeddah.
The ITFC facility will help advance Afreximbank’s COVID-19 response programme for countries in which both organisations operate, securing vital goods for the health of local populations and enabling a swifter return to economic activity.
The facility will also enhance the Bank’s capacity to provide trade finance resources at a time of critical need for the continent’s export development and industrialization.
The agreement extends Afreximbank’s co-operation with ITFC, the leading provider of trade solutions for OIC member countries, with both organisations working to promote trade cooperation and demonstrate the benefits of South-South cooperation.
The enhancement of regional trade cooperation and reinforcement of trade between African and Arab nations promises significant economic opportunities and remains a strategic goal of both parties.
The facility significantly facilitates Afreximbank’s execution of strategic interventions. It will promote employment, increase economic activity, and expand tax receipts by stimulating economic dynamism.
Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank, said: “The facility agreed between Afreximbank and the ITFC will allow us to scale-up our impactful interventions in African trade finance as well as our continent’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Africa’s long-term economic growth must be outward-looking as much as intra-continental and today’s agreement reflects a desire among leaders from both Arab and African trade finance institutions to increase our collaboration.”
Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO ITFC said:
“ITFC and Afreximbank through this facility mark another milestone in our mutual mandate to support the recovery of our member countries, especially in Africa. Delivering vaccines to the continent is a prerequisite to saving African lives and livelihoods, safely reopening economies and resuming their economic development agenda.”
It is worth mentioning that ITFC and Afreximbank partnership commenced in 2017 with the signing of the first trade financing agreement with the aim of facilitating and financing exports amongst African countries and between Africa and the rest of the world.
In 2020, ITFC and Afreximbank expanded the cooperation with another financing facility as part of the COVID-19 Response Package for the support of the Agriculture Sector in Africa. Both institutions are collaborating in different projects under the Arab Africa Trade Bridges (AATB) Program.
Afreximbank will chair the 7th AATB Executive Committee meeting scheduled for 5th December 2021 in Cairo, in preparation for the AATB Ministerial Governing Board that will be held on 6&7 December 2021 under the chairmanship of the Arab Republic of Egypt.