The president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has said that with the rapidly changing world of trade and rising echoes of unilateralism, Africa must trade smartly, starting by ensuring rapid growth in intra-African trade.
Adesina pointed to the important role of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in that regard, saying that, when fully implemented, the AfCFTA would raise the share of intra-African trade in Africa’s total trade from 16 per cent to 52 per cent.
It would also increase the value of Africa’s traded goods and services by $35 billion per year, he added.
He made the remarks in Abuja during a gala dinner organised to mark the 2018 Annual Meetings and 25th Anniversary of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank).
Adesina commented Afreximbank for its achievements, saying that the AfDB was very proud that the institution it helped create 25 years ago had fully come of age.
“Today, Afreximbank is the leader on financing trade in Africa,” he said.
Highlighting the importance of trade finance, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), Adesina noted that the AfDB had provided trade finance lines of credit of $650 million and trade finance mitigation support of $250 million to support Afreximbank’s trade finance activities.
He called for strong partnership between AfDB and Afreximbank in the development of export processing zones, especially staple crop processing zones, so as to help transform rural economies based on agricultural industrialisation and value addition.
Earlier, Dr. Mahmud Isa-Dutse, permanent secretary in the ministry of finance of Nigeria, which hosted the gala dinner, congratulated Afreximbank on the celebration of its 25th anniversary.
He pledged Nigeria’s continuing support for the bank as it continued to deliver on its mandate of promoting African trade.