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$200bn gap hampers Intra-Africa trade

THE African Export and Import Bank (Afreximbank) says over US$200 billion annual financing gap has hampered the realization of intra-Africa trade and requires urgent attention. Afreximbank president Benedict Oramah said there is need to close the US$120 billion trade financing and the US$93 billion annual infrastructure gaps to unlock the continent’s economic potential.

Speaking at the official opening of the 25th Afreximbank annual general meetings on Friday, Dr Oramah said intra- Africa trade is still below aspiration, at between15 percent and 17 percent. He said although the bank has provided financing to a tune of US$50 billion in supporting trade and project activities and over US$65 billion in syndications and guarantee activities in the last 25 years across the continent, more needs to be done by all stakeholders.

Dr Oramah, however, said steps such as the African continental trade area in integrating the continent are being made and it is envisioned that the objectives of a single market will be achieved.
“The next 25 years will not only be challenging but also replete with opportunities. We will be celebrating a continent that has overcome direct and indirect manoeuvres from various powers to take control of its resources, to rise to become the world’s factory for light manufacturers and the most dynamic market.
“We will be celebrating a continent that has responded to the realities of global trade relations to become more integrated, with trade rising to more than 50 percent of the continent’s total trade,” he said. C o m m e n t i n g o n t h e achievements scored by the bank since inception 25 years ago, Dr Oramah said the bank has among other activities provided trade services lines in excess of US$4 billion to commercial banks and US$9 billion to central banks. This amount is aimed at meeting trade debt payment obligations at the height of the 2014-16 commodity prices depreciation.