Afreximbank to Begin Inspection, Certification Operations in Nigeria Next Year

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Emma Okonji

Following the January 2017 launch of its fifth strategic plan called the IMPACT 2021 for Africa, Afreximbank has announced fresh plans to promote and facilitate the emergence of internationally accredited Inspection and Certification Centres (ICCs) in Nigeria by 2018.

IMPACT 2021 for Africa, seeks to transform the African market from 2017 to 2021 and expand its lending activities into new African markets and also increase the size of its loan portfolio.

President and Chairman, Board of Directors, Afreximbank, Dr. Benedict Oramah, who made the disclosure in Abuja recently said: “The Bank identified Nigeria as a pilot country to establish the first internationally accredited Inspection and Certification Centre to analyse and certify products, such as agricultural and agro-processed products, as well as light manufactures for exports.

“The Bank’s intervention is aimed at improving market access and increasing exports of Nigerian agricultural and agro-processed products as well as light manufactures to international markets like EU, USA, Japan, China, among others,” Oramah explained.

He said the ICC centre would be established along the Lagos-Ibadan Express way in Ogun State, having received a formal letter from the state government in February this year, advising that it has allocated five hectares of land along the Lagos – Ibadan Expressway for the development of the project.

“The Bank is now conducting a feasibility study/business plan for the initiative and expect to begin construction in 2018,” Oramah said.
Oramah said the bank was established following the the need for African governments to supplement trade finance in Africa, and begin the process of diversifying African trade, away from commodities up. It was also set to encourage inter-African trade, following the withdrawal of international banks from financing developing countries because of the envisaged financial risk that was triggered by the action of Mexico, Brazil and Argentina, that defaulted in their financial roles in the 1980s, which he said, crated global economic and financial crisis that led to commodity crisis in Africa.

Oramah said the withdrawal weakened the economic growth of the African continent, because then Africans were largely commodity dependent.

He added: “As a result of the situation, Asia overtook Africa because they toed the line of manufacturing, which attracted heavy Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) into the Asian continent.
“Before the 1980s financial crisis, Africa was accounting for about 5 per cent of global trade, but the withdrawal of international banks from developing countries, following the financial crises, wreaked the trade investment in Africa, and its global trade dropped to 2.5 per cen.”

According to him, in the midst of the financial crisis, African governments, through their Ministers of Finance, had several meetings in Cairo, Egypt, and mandated the African Development Bank to look at ways of addressing the African situation.
The outcome of the meeting, was the creation of Afreximbank, which is African Trade Finance Bank that will manage the African financial risk and attract international financing, back to Africa. Afreximbank was established in Abuja in 1993, to oversee countries in the West African Anglophone and Lusophone region, he said.

Speaking on the strategic initiatives of the bank for Nigeria, Oramah said the bank, in collaboration with its technical and financial partners, planned to assist the Nigerian government through a programmatic approach, in planning, developing, financing and managing modern projects that would support infrastructure development among others.

The bank’s strategy for Nigeria is to support the creation of necessary soft infrastructure to improve the business environment to facilitate trade and investment in the manufacturing industry and also facilitate international markets’ access for “Made-in-Nigeria” goods.