In a move to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) agreement, the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has pledged to support Nigerian manufacturers with $500 million from its Nigeria-Africa Trade and Investment Promotion Programme.
The President of the bank, Benedict Oramah, made the disclosure in Lagos, while speaking as the Guest Speaker at the Annual Lecture and Presidential Luncheon organised as part of the 47th Annual General Meeting of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN).
Oramah said that the facility would support Nigerian manufacturers to expand their trade around other African countries. He added that the opportunity for African manufacturers, under the AfCFTA, was phenomenal and that intra-regional trade in manufactures could rise to more than $150 billion by 2022 as a result of the entry into force of the agreement.
“By 2022, the AfCFTA is expected to bring the share of intra-African trade from current levels of about 16 per cent to 22 per cent, bringing total intra-African trade to about $250 billion dollars, from about $160 billion,” he said.
He informed the audience about the various facilities that Afreximbank had available for African manufacturers under its Industrialization and Export Development and Intra-African Trade strategies. Those included the Export Development Programme which was available for export manufacturers; the Intra-African Investment Financing Facility which supports cross-border investments in Africa; the Intra-African Investment Guarantee Facility; a series of facilities under the Trade Financing Programme; the Franchise Financing Facility; and the Guarantee Programme covering an array of scenarios.
Also speaking, President of MAN, Ahmed Mansur, said that the manufacturing sector in Nigeria continued to face daunting challenges associated with deeply eroded infrastructure, poor condition of highways and waterways, absence of a good rail network and other impediments which rendered manufacturing uncompetitive.