Uche Usim, Abuja
The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has harped on the need for trade transformation on the African continent, describing it as a task that all financial institutions on the continent must collectively pursue as major stakeholders.
Afreximbank Executive Vice President, Business Development and Corporate Banking, Amr Kamel, gave the charge in Dar Es Salam, Tanzania, recently, at a roadshow organised by Afreximbank for financial institutions to introduce the Afreximbank Trade Facilitation Programme (AFTRAF).
Kamel, who was represented by Ademola Adeyinka, Consultant on Financial Institutions/Trade, said that Afreximbank was in a strong position to support African trade and African financial institutions and that it wanted African banks to see it as their partner of choice in international financing.
“We understand African trade better than any other institution,” he said. “We were set up by African governments under a Charter that has been signed to by 50 countries, including Tanzania.
“We have a good credit rating that African financial institutions can leverage on and we have the ears of 50 African heads of state.
“That allows us to better understand the issues in each country, support the countries in finding solutions to trade finance challenges and resolve issues that may arise easier”.
Kamel emphasised that Tanzania was a key market for Afreximbank and that the Bank would want to do more transactions in the country.
He explained that Afreximbank came up with AFTRAF in order to create opportunity for Africa to bridge the trade finance gap with the rest of the world, which had continued to grow.
It was also to create the opportunity for African banks to enhance and complement existing trade finance lines with international financial institutions.
Kamel also said that, to address the challenges, Afreximbank would leverage its credit rating and supranational status to de-risk the perceived risks and unlock capital to support trade finance business in Africa.
He announced that Afreximbank has onboarded about 170 African banks and that the target was to onboard 700 banks by the end of 2019.
The bank was also in the process of appointing some African banks as Trade Finance Intermediaries which would allow such banks to act as local administrative agents for transactions involving Afreximbank in their markets.
He encouraged Tanzanian banks to take advantage of the opportunity by sending in their customer due diligence and know your customer (CDD/KYC) documents in order to be onboarded.
Kamel also requested Tanzanian banks to sign on to the MANSA Repository Platform which was created by Afreximbank as an online platform for CDD/KYC with special emphasis on African financial institutions.
The platform provides a single source of primary data required for performing CDD checks and facilitating smooth onboarding of banks at reduced cost.
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Manager, Guarantees and Specialised Finance, Afolabi Obisesan, presented the features and processes of AFTRAF to the audience, highlighting the various products under it, including letters of credit confirmation, irrevocable reimbursement undertaking and letters of credit confirmation guarantee.
AFTRAF has been structured to enhance confidence of counterparties in the settlement of international trade transactions for critical imports into Africa, support intra-African trade and facilitate the purchase of equipment for production of export goods.
Also present at the roadshow was Sarah Siliya, Manager, Client Relations at the Afreximbank East African Regional Office.
The roadshow next moves to Kigali on Wednesday and Accra on Monday. Represented at the roadshow were Barclays Bank, NMB Bank, Amana Bank, CRDB, Stanbic, CBA, UBA, Azania, TIB Bank and KCB.