KALONDE NYATI, Lusaka
ABOUT US$ 800 million has been set aside to facilitate trade between African countries including Zambia, and Belarus aimed at strengthening relations between the continent and that country.
Africa Export and Import Bank (Afreximbank) president Benedict Oramah said the facility, which is under the Belarus-Africa Trade and Investment Finance Facility will provide trade and project financing, and risk cover for African and Belarusian entities to support trade between Africa and Belarus.
Dr Oramah said this at the two-day Belarus-Africa Forum, organised by Afreximbank and the Development Bank of Belarus, in collaboration with the Belarus Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Agriculture in that country’s capital Minsk.
“The bank has implemented country risk and investment guarantees and a guarantee programme in support of African government commitments to project promoters,” he said.
He said with Africa’s total trade reaching US$1 trillion last year, the continent is increasingly moving to the centre stage of global trade and partnerships with countries such as Belarus will further accelerate trade volumes.
Dr Oramah said Africa requires partners to help unlock its full potential.
“But the continent is only interested in partners that will contribute to the growth of Africa. We are not looking for those that are merely interested in selling consumption goods or those that see the continent as a “beverage” economy, only good at producing low priced and volatile commodities.
“Africa needs partners that can accompany it on the path to sustainable development; partners that can share their experiences about how to rise from poverty and deprivation to wealth and affluence,” he said.
At the same occasion, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Valentin Rybakov said that Belarus and Africa should enhance relations in agriculture, land development, industrialisation and public development.
“Belarus was not just interested in trading with Africa by simply buying and selling but wanted to collaborate with the continent through launching and co-operating in businesses, promoting and creating jobs across the continent. It also wanted to participate in the continent’s industrialisation,” he said.