Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
South Africa has taken up shareholding in the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), the African continental multilateral trade finance institution in a bid demonstrate its commitment to promoting intra-African trade and economic integration.
With the shareholding, South Africa becomes the 47th African country to join Afreximbank as a participating state and/or shareholder.
It is being represented by the Export Credit Insurance Corporation of South Africa (ECIC) as its designated investor in line with the terms of the provisions of the Charter of the Bank.
“It is a significant vote of confidence to have South Africa join Afreximbank as a shareholder,” said Dr. Benedict Oramah, President of the Bank, in welcoming the news that the country had joined the Bank as a shareholder. “South Africa accounts for about 30 to 35 per cent of total intra-African trade, making its membership critical for the attainment of the Bank’s strategic goal of moving intra-African trade share of Africa’s total trade from about 15 per cent currently to 22 per cent by 2021 and raising its annual value to more than $250 billion by that year. We are confident that its membership of Afreximbank will enable it to play a significant role in driving trade across the continent.”
“We are humbled while also motivated by the trust and confidence that the South African government has placed on ECIC to assume the role of designated institution for membership of the Bank,” said Kutoane Kutoane, CEO of ECIC. “We are certain that South African exporters, especially our small and medium-sized exporters, will now have access to the expanded pool of structured trade finance facilities offered by the Bank.”
Kutoane said that ECIC intended to make the partnership mutually beneficial, adding, “this marks a watershed moment defining the era of more inclusive intra-continental trade facilitation on a grand scale”.
South Africa was unable to join Afreximbank at the Bank’s creation in 1993 as the country was still under apartheid rule at the time.
Countries currently on the list of Afreximbank participating and shareholding states include Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, and Lesotho. Others are Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Sao Tome and Principe, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Afreximbank shareholders are a mix of public and private entities divided into four classes and consist of African governments, central banks, regional and sub-regional institutions, private investors and financial institutions, as well as non-African financial institutions, export credit agencies and private investors.
Class “A” shareholders are African states, African central banks and African public institutions, including the African Development Bank, while Class “B” is made up of African financial institutions and African private investors.
Class “C” shares are held by non-African investors, mostly international banks and export credit agencies, including Standard Chartered Bank, HSBC, Citibank, China Exim Bank and Exim India. Class “D” shares, a tier approved in December 2012, are fully paid value shares that can be held by any investor. SBM Securities, Mauritius, is currently the only investor in this class on behalf of holders of its depository receipts which are listed on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius.