By Emma Okonji
The transformation of trade in Africa is a task that all African financial institutions must collectively pursue as major stakeholders in the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) in order to facilitate African trade.
This was the view of the Executive Vice President, Business Development and Corporate Banking at Afreximbank, Amr Kamel, who spoke in Dar Es Salam last week, during a roadshow organised by Afreximbank for financial institutions to introduce the Afreximbank Trade Facilitation Programme (AFTRAF).
According to a statement from the Bank, Kamel, who was represented by a Consultant on Financial Institutions/Trade, Ademola Adeyinka, said Afreximbank was in strong position to support African trade and African financial institutions.
He urged African banks to see Afreximbank as their partner of choice in international financing.
According to him, “We understand African trade better than any other institution. We were set up by African governments under a Charter that has been signed to by 50 countries.
“We have a good credit rating that African financial institutions can leverage on and we have the ears of 50 African heads of state. That allows us to better understand the issues in each country, support the countries in finding solutions to trade finance challenges and resolve issues that may arise.”
He explained that Afreximbank came up with AFTRAF in order to create opportunity for Africa to bridge the trade finance gap with the rest of the world, which had continued to grow. It was also to create the opportunity for African banks to enhance and complement existing trade finance lines with international financial institutions.
Kamel said to address the challenges, Afreximbank would leverage its credit rating and supranational status to de-risk the perceived risks and unlock capital to support trade finance business in Africa.
He announced that Afreximbank has on-boarded about 170 African banks and that the target was to onboard 700 banks by the end of 2019. The Bank was also in the process of appointing some African banks as Trade Finance Intermediaries which would allow such banks to act as local administrative agents for transactions involving Afreximbank in their markets.
He encouraged Tanzanian banks to take advantage of the opportunity by sending in their customer due diligence and know your customer (CDD/KYC) documents in order to be onboarded.
Kamel also requested Tanzanian banks to sign on to the MANSA Repository Platform, which was created by Afreximbank as an online platform for CDD/KYC with special emphasis on African financial institutions. The platform provides a single source of primary data required for performing CDD checks and facilitating smooth onboarding of banks at reduced cost.