KALONDE NYATI, Kigali, Rwanda
PRESIDENT of Rwanda Paul Kagame says the low levels of trade among African countries, currently at around 15 percent, is
unacceptable and has called for unity to accelerate trade.
Speaking during the African Export and Import Bank AFREXIM annual general meeting here, President Kagame said trade volumes should be raised by accelerating infrastructure development, cutting tariff and non-tariff barriers and industrialisation.
This year’s AFREXIM bank AGM has attracted government officials, central bank governors, investors, philanthropists from across the continent and beyond with Zambia being represented by Bank of Zambia governor Denny Kalyalya and other bank officials.
“The movement of goods and people needs to be eased. Industrialisation should not just remain an objective but a reality by investing more,” he said.
He also said African countries need to exchange ideas on how best the continent can advance intra-trade and reap the benefits of integration.
President Kagame also observed that failure to accelerate regional integration has subjected the continent to protectionism tendencies by other continents.
“Most of the negotiations tend to disadvantage the continent hence the need to trade among ourselves,” he said.
He hailed AFREXIM bank for facilitating trade on the continent.
Earlier, AFREXIM bank president Benedict Oramah said the bank has between 2015 and May this year approved trade finance lines of credit to a tune of US$12.5 billion to 34 banks across the continent to boost intra-Africa trade.
Dr Oramah also said the bank last year disbursed on a revolving basis, over US$7 billion to central banks and commercial banks in various African countries to avert potential defaults on backlogs of trade payment obligations.
On the bank’s financial position, Dr Oramah said AFREXIM bank, which was created to facilitate trade across the continent, remains solid and continues to post profits thus positioning it to provide finance to accelerate trade on the continent.