By Ndubuisi Francis
Shareholders of African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) have re-appointed Nigerian-born Prof. Benedict Oramah as President of the pan-African multilateral financial institution for a second five -year term.
The decision was announced in Cairo, Egypt at the bank’s 27th Annual General Meeting (AGM), which was held by the circulation of resolutions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In his acceptance statement released shortly thereafter, Oramah told the shareholders that the bank’s ultimate goal under his second term of office is the realisation of Africa’s strategic ambition to create an integrated market.
He said: “We want an Africa where the foundations of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) are laid expeditiously so that the 84,000 kilometres of borders that have divided us for ages can begin to come down.”
AfCFTA, he added, would “drive the industrialisation of Africa, support the emergence of regional value chains, turn Africa’s creative and cultural assets into engines of growth, grow jobs for the continent’s youth, convey respect to Africans wherever they may be and better prepare the continent to compete more effectively in the global markets”.
He noted that between 2015 and 2019, Afreximbank disbursed over $30 billion in support of African trade with over $15 billion channelled towards the financing and promotion of intra-African trade.
“We will aim to double intra-African trade financing so that by the end of my term, it will constitute no less than 40% of the Bank’s total assets, with aggregate disbursements, on a revolving basis, over the 5 years exceeding US$30 billion,” he announced.
In office since 2015, Oramah’s re-appointment was one of the key decisions taken by shareholders during the bank’s 2020 AGM.
A resolution proposing the re-election of Mr. Stefan-Luis Francois Nalletamby as a director representing Class “A” Shareholders and Mr. Kee Chong Li Kwong Wing as a director representing Class “B” Sharefolders was also approved by the meeting.
In addition, the 2019 audited accounts were approved, as well as the proposal to raise an additional US$500 million in equity within Afreximbank’s current Strategic Plan dubbed “IMPACT 2021-Africa transformed”.
The approval to raise additional equity was in recognition that an amount of $1 billion earlier authorised to be mobilised had almost been fully raised.
“I make a commitment that with your support, the Bank will remain well capitalised throughout my term of office and beyond. We will continue our efforts to diversify sources of equity to include the markets while ensuring that the bank’s development focus remains unchanged,” Oramah assured the bank’s shareholders.
Afreximbank is a Pan-African multilateral financial institution with the mandate of financing and promoting intra and extra-African trade. It was established in October 1993 and is owned by African governments, the African Development Bank and other African multilateral financial institutions as well as African and non-African public and private investors.