The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) (www.Afreximbank.com) today in Cairo launched a new initiative that will open doors, allowing African contractors to capitalise on various infrastructure investments available across the continent.
Prof. Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank, joined by Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation of Egypt, launched the Afreximbank Intra-African Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) Contract Promotion Programme during the Presidential Summit of the Intra-African Trade Fair 2023 (IATF2023).
Prof. Oramah told guests that the programme was one of the Bank’s initiatives to support the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), saying that it aimed to enable African companies to successfully bid for, win and execute infrastructure contracts in Africa through capacity building, twinning, market access opportunities, financing, guarantees and technology solutions.
“The EPC initiative will help African contractors to participate in the US$60 billion annual infrastructure investments within Africa, unlike the current practice where most of the contracts go to non-African entities,” he said.
Ms. Al-Mashat said that the launch of the programme would have a positive impact on Africa’s agenda for sustainable development.
“It enhances the participation of African companies in infrastructure projects, provides more investment opportunities and facilitates the exchange of information in order to expand partnerships and twinning agreements to drive growth in the engineering, construction and procurement sector,” she said.
Minister Al-Mashat described the platform as a strategic and effective solution to tackle three significant challenges preventing Africa from reaching its potential, including lack of funding, insufficient information and a skills gap. Addressing those challenges was especially crucial to tackling the infrastructure funding gap in the continent, estimated at US$170 billion annually, which could be fixed by promoting international cooperation and attracting investment in infrastructure.
She recommended promoting transparent communication between governments and the private sector to bridge information gaps and tackling skills gaps by providing technical support, capacity building and skills development to build a skilled workforce.
The Minister said that Egypt was eager to boost private sector involvement in development endeavours and to link it to all funding and investment opportunities and technical support provided by multilateral and bilateral development partners, adding, “in order to promote these efforts, I have the honour to announce to you that the platform we are launching today will be linked to the Ministry of International Cooperation’s portal for private sector participation.”
She commended Afreximbank for leading the initiative and providing support to EPC companies in Africa through contracts worth over US$12 billion in the past five years and appealed to international development partners to do more in supporting African companies by providing affordable and low-cost development finance. They should also provide more innovative mechanisms and technical support necessary for implementing infrastructure and green projects in Africa.
Attending the Presidential Summit was host President Abdel Fatah El Sisi of Egypt who was joined by Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe and Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi. Also present were Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly of Egypt and former President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, along with several former African vice presidents, serving ministers, other political and business leaders.
About the Intra-African Trade Fair:
Organised by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) is intended to provide a unique platform for facilitating trade and investment information exchange in support of increased intra-African trade and investment, especially in the context of implementing the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). IATF brings together continental and global players to showcase and exhibit their goods and services and to explore business and investment opportunities in the continent. It also provides a platform to share trade, investment and market information with stakeholders and allows participants to discuss and identify solutions to the challenges confronting intra-African trade and investment. In addition to African participants, the Trade Fair is also open to businesses and investors from non-African countries interested in doing business in Africa and in supporting the continent’s transformation through industrialisation and export development.
African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is a Pan-African multilateral financial institution mandated to finance and promote intra-and extra-African trade. For 30 years, the Bank has been deploying innovative structures to deliver financing solutions that support the transformation of the structure of Africa’s trade, accelerating industrialization and intra-regional trade, thereby boosting economic expansion in Africa. A stalwart supporter of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), Afreximbank has launched a Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) that was adopted by the African Union (AU) as the payment and settlement platform to underpin the implementation of the AfCFTA. Working with the AfCFTA Secretariat and the AU, the Bank is setting up a US$10 billion Adjustment Fund to support countries to effectively participate in the AfCFTA. At the end of 2022, Afreximbank’s total assets and guarantees stood at over US$31 billion, and its shareholder funds amounted to US$5.2 billion. The Bank disbursed more than US$86 billion between 2016 and 2022. Afreximbank has investment grade ratings assigned by GCR (international scale) (A), Moody’s (Baa1), Japan Credit Rating Agency (JCR) (A-) and Fitch (BBB). Afreximbank has evolved into a group entity comprising the Bank, its impact fund subsidiary called the Fund for Export Development Africa (FEDA), and its insurance management subsidiary, AfrexInsure, (together, “the Group”).