The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) yesterday said it would implement a Tunisia-Africa Trade and Investment Promotion Programme (TATIPP), with an initial commitment of $500 million to promote trade between Tunisia and the rest of Africa.
According to Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of the bank who spoke in Tunis during a meeting with President Beji Caid Essebsi of Tunisia, the trade deal, whose structure would be similar to programmes being implemented with Egypt, South Africa and Nigeria, would provide special risk cover for Tunisia’s trade with the rest of Africa.
The programme would also provide financing to Tunisian companies engaged in trade with other African countries and support others to retool with the view to improving their competitiveness in Africa and globally.
The Afreximbank boss said that if the initial commitment was fully utilised, the bank would be prepared to increase the amount available to boost the trade between the country and the rest of the continent .
He noted that Afreximbank was already supporting a number of Tunisian businesses, such as the Loukil Group, in their investments and business undertakings in other African countries.
In his response, President Essebsi, commended Afreximbank for introducing TATIPP and expressed the country’s full support for its programme. He therefore pledged policy support to facilitate the smooth implementation/rollout of a programme that had the potential to deepen trade and economic cooperation between Tunisia and other African countries.
Meanwhile, Oramah had also in a discusion with the Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, assured that an additional $300 million has been approved for six Tunisian banks under its Afreximbank Trde Facilitation programme (AFTRAF), besides the $500 million TATIPP.
According to the bank, AFTRAF is structured to enhance confidence of counterparties in the settlement of international trade transactions, support intra-African trade and facilitate purchase of equipment for production of export goods. It was developed in response to the cutbacks in trade finance available to Africa due to stringent compliance and regulatory requirements imposed on international banks.
Prof. Oramah said that TATIPP could yield substantial benefits to Tunisia as the country had the necessary requirements for a successful implementation, noting that the programme implemented with Egypt ended up supporting a large percentage of that country’s trade with other African countries.
He announced that the bank was considering to reopen its Tunis-based regional office for the Maghreb region to revive trade flows between North Africa and the rest of the continent within the framework of the recently-launched African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
Prime Minister Chahed assured that Tunisia was ready to create an enabling environment for the bank to operate successfully in the country.