‘Africa needs an en­abling en­vi­ron­ment for trade growth’

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - INDUSTRY - Sto­ries by Femi Adekoya

STAKE­HOLD­ERS and par­tic­i­pants at the re­cently con­cluded Ad­vanced Struc­tured Trade Fi­nance Sem­i­nar and Work­shops or­ga­nized by the African Ex­port-im­port Bank (Afrex­im­bank), have em­pha­sised the need for a con­ducive en­vi­ron­ment and in­no­va­tive fi­nan­cial in­stru­ments for trade and eco­nomic growth.

Afrex­im­bank Pres­i­dent Dr. Bene­dict Oramah said that “Bankers do­ing busi­ness in Africa have to be adap­tive and re­spon­sive to the needs of the con­ti­nent and to the evolv­ing op­er­at­ing en­vi­ron­ment.”

Re­fer­ring to the role of tech­nol­ogy in sup­ply chain fi­nance, he stated that block chain tech­nol­ogy, ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence and the spread of mo­bile pay­ments had im­pli­ca­tions on the skills, tech­nol­ogy and reg­u­la­tory frame­work that would gov­ern trade fi­nanc­ing into the fu­ture. African bankers and banks should, there­fore, be pre­pared for the rapidly chang­ing busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment.

Dr Oramah iden­ti­fied data as an emerg­ing new com­mod­ity class and ar­gued that the “en­tity that con­trols data is the en­tity that con­trols the world”.

Min­is­ter of Fi­nance of Cape Verde, Olavo Cor­reia, added that Africa should cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment that pro­motes trade and in­vest­ment in or­der to en­able its economies can grow.

“Our con­ti­nent needs to grow in or­der fight the prob­lems we have, such as poverty, and we must speed up the trans­forma- tion if we want to see re­sults,” said Cor­reia in an ad­dress at the clos­ing cer­e­mony.

“There is no eco­nomic growth with­out trade and we must work to pro­vide a po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic and so­cial en­vi­ron­ment in or­der to re­in­force re­gional ex­changes.”

High­light­ing the im­por­tance of in­tra-african trade, he said that Cape Verde was al­ready work­ing to solve the chal­lenge posed by trans­porta­tion, which was one of the key bar­ri­ers to ef­fec­tive re­gional trade.

Cape Verde was de­vel­op­ing in­creased mar­itime and air links and was aim­ing to be­come a ma­jor trans­port hub serv­ing the African con­ti­nent by de­vel­op­ing ex­cel­lent links to Africa, Europe, North Amer­ica and South Amer­ica, the Fi­nance Min­is­ter said.

That de­vel­op­ment would not be pos­si­ble with­out the help of Afrex­im­bank, which has opened new lines of credit, helped with pre­fi­nanc­ing and was pro­vid­ing other tools to Cape Verde, he said.

Cor­reia called for in­creased sup­port for Afrex­im­bank, say­ing, “The or­gan­i­sa­tion which helps us needs our sup­port so it can be of ser­vice to the whole African con­ti­nent.” Also, Amr Kamel, Ex­ec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent, Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment and Cor­po­rate Bank­ing, Afrex­im­bank, com­mended Cape Verde for host­ing the Ad­vanced Struc­tured Trade Fi­nance Sem­i­nar and Work­shops and en­joined the par­tic­i­pants to put into prac­tice what they had learnt when they re­turned to their sta­tions.

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