Nigeria, AFREXIM Sign $1bn Loan Facility for Export Promotion Programme

Yemi Osinbajo

Yemi Osinbajo

  • Digital economy to hit $88bn by 2021, says Osinbajo

Jonathan Eze in Cairo, Egypt

The ongoing intra African trade fair in Cairo, Egypt, has produced a deal that would boost the non-oil sector as the federal government and the African Export-Import Bank (AFREXIM) signed a $1 billion facility export promotion programme with a total targeted inflow of $25 billion in the next few years.

This is just as the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, has predicted that with the phenomenal growth and depth of technology and innovation and with hundreds of new companies jostling for primacy in the fast growing digital economy space, the digital economy in Nigeria would be worth $88 billion and create about three million jobs by 2021.

The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which was witnessed by Osinbajo and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, excited the Vice President who said: “ I think we will arrive at a very successful establishment of the African common market, because I think it is good for African trade”.

Osinbajo stated that “the inter-state trade in Africa is 10 per cent while 90 per cent is done with countries outside Africa. There is no reason why we should not increase the inter-state trade on this continent. This is why this first intra African trade fair is an extra special event. It is the beginning of the coming to pass of one of Africa’s favorite dreams, increasing intra African trade, trade between and among ourselves in pragmatic and sustainable ways”.

He asserted that for the continent to progress economically, “and for us to live our dreams and the hopes and aspirations of our founding fathers, we must commend and thank the African Union, and Afrexim Bank for organising, and the Government and people of Egypt for hosting this trade fair and the excellent facilities that have been placed at our disposal”.

“Therefore, it is with great pride that we celebrate the dreams of Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and all of the fathers of our continent as we take part in the first ever intra-African Trade fair.

He further said Nigeria places a high premium on the economic integration of the continent and recognises trade as a veritable tool “towards the Africa we all want’; an industrialised, prosperous and peaceful Africa where we generate enough opportunities to accommodate the growing numbers of our peoples.

He said “the numbers entering the job market yearly in Africa is daunting and it is clear that increased Intra-Africa trade is one of the surest ways of creating the jobs that are so desperately needed. Therefore, this intra-African trade fair, bringing together the business communities, including, innovators and creators both in the merchandise and services industry from the 55 African Union Members and beyond is a remarkable achievement in and of itself..

“In order to increase trade, we in Nigeria tasked ourselves to diversify our export basket. This became one of our many policy priorities. Based on this focus we modified and updated existing economic policies and also developed robust policies to facilitate the diversification of our economy.

“Today, we have come to the intra-Africa trade fair with a delegation of policy makers and services market operators who have an array of goods and services that are as rich and diverse as the people of our great country.

The Vice president noted that “in the 2nd quarter report of Nigerian National Bureau of Statistics, services contributed approximately 54 per cent to the GDP with Information and Communication as the main drivers of growth.

“Clearly one of the most remarkable developments in Nigeria’s economic story is the phenomenal growth and depth of technology and innovation. With hundreds of new companies jostling for primacy in this fast growing digital economy space, it is estimated that the digital economy in Nigeria would be worth $88 billion dollars and add about three million jobs by 2021.

“So, today, we have come with some of our best digital entrepreneurs, to exhibit their products, start conversations around cooperation and partnerships that would jump start the continental economy and create the Facebooks, Googles and Amazons of our continent” he stated.

On his part, the President of AFREXIM, Prof. Benedict Oramah, said the event was very significant as it will greatly boost the export capacity of the country thereby improving the economy of the continent generally.

The Executive Director of Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) Segun Awolowo, Nigerian Export Import Bank (NEXIM), Managing Director, Abba Bello signed the agreement on behalf of the federal government.

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