AU Member Countries Urged to Tackle Socio-economic, Political Problems

Ebere Nwoji

Member countries of African Union (AU), have been urged to tackle the various political, economic and social problems especially poverty plaguing their countries by creating environment that promotes trade and investment for economic growth and development.

Cape Verde Minister of Finance, Olavo Correia, gave the charged in his closing remarks at the just concluded Advanced Structured Trade Finance Seminar and Workshops organised by the African Export-import Bank (Afreximbank) at Sal Island, Cape Verde recently.

He said: “Our continent needs to grow in order to fight the problems we have, such as poverty, and we must speed up the transformation if we want to see results; “there is no economic growth without trade and we must work to provide a political, economic and social environment in order to reinforce regional exchanges.”

Highlighting the importance of intra-African trade, and the need for member countries to contribute their quota towards its success, Correia, said that Cape Verde was already working to solve the challenge posed by transportation, which was one of the key barriers to effective regional trade.
He said that Cape Verde was developing increased maritime and air links and is aiming at becoming a major transport hub serving the African continent by developing excellent links to Africa, Europe, North America and South America.

“That development will not be possible without the help of Afreximbank, which has opened new lines of credit, helped with pre-financing and was providing other tools to Cape Verde,” he said.
Correia called for increased support for Afreximbank, saying, the bank, which helps the continent needs support so that it can be of service to the whole African continent.
During the workshop, Afreximbank launched a new guarantee programme aimed at unlocking capital and leveraging much-needed financing into Africa.

It said the AFGAP initiative, would help to de-risk African transactions in order to make them more attractive to investors and financiers.
He said the programme, which offers a variety of credit enhancement solution to clients in Africa, has an aspect tagged Exim-plus, a broad strategy developed by Afreximbank to position itself as a comprehensive trade facilitation and financing solution centre in Africa.

AFREXIM Bank’s Executive vice president in charge of Business Development and Corporate banking, Arm Kamel, said under Exim-plus, Afreximbank is offering a broad array of instruments that are often associated with export credit agencies and other specialised trade and development finance institutions, thereby differentiating itself from normal commercial banks and development financial institutions.

He said that AFGAP was a demonstration of Afreximbank’s unwavering commitment to delivering on its mandate of promoting intra- and extra-African trade, in particular, the mandate of using risk bearing instruments to promote trade in Africa, by introducing new risk mitigation solutions to address the trade finance needs of the continent.
“AFGAP would bring “additionality” to Africa, by mobilising financing that would otherwise not have been possible, to support the economic development of the continent”, he said.

Kamel called for support for the programme from partners and other relevant stakeholders, adding that although Afreximbank had taken a giant step in launching the programme, it could not achieve the desired results alone.
“We are, therefore, calling on partners interested in Africa’s development and all relevant parties to work with Afreximbank to support the promotion of trade and trade-related investments in Africa.”

He commended Cape Verde for hosting the Advanced Structured Trade Finance Seminar and Workshops and enjoined the participants to put into practice what they had learnt when they returned to their stations.
The workshops, attracted several speakers from Africa, Europe and Asia who in their presentations, highlighted Africa’s potentials and said that the potentials could be realised through increased intra-African trade and diversification away from commodities.

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