By Chinwendu Obienyi, Lagos
The total loan approvals for Nigeria from the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has now risen to N1.89 billion in 8 months, the Executive Vice President, Corporate Governance and Legal Services at Afreximbank, Dr George Elombi, disclosed during the intra-African Trade Fair 2021 official Nigeria high-level roadshow which held in Lagos on Monday.
Speaking on the theme “Promoting Nigeria-Africa Trade and Investment under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)”, Dr Elombi stated that in the context of COVID-19, the AfCFTA has probably taken on an even more important role as the framework for African economic recovery.
He noted that factors such as market fragmentation, reliance on the export of primary commodities, tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade and others have resulted in a low percentage of intra-African trade, averaging around 15 per cent and continuously subjecting Africa’s growth and development to external forces.
He said that the IATF 2021 which is scheduled to hold in Durban, South Africa, between November 15 and 21, 2021, is expected to generate more than $40 billion in trade and investment deals, an opportunity beneficial to the Nigerian economy.
According to him, the IATF 2021 would also attract over 1,000 exhibitors, about 10,000 visitors, buyers and conference participants from all 55 African countries, and the world.
Dr Elombi noted that Afreximbank being the organiser of the IATF 2021, has supported and facilitated trade and investments in Nigeria through its array of financial and non-financial instruments.
According to him, the bank has approved over $26 billion in support of Nigerian public and private sector entities since its inception in 1993 and added that it continues to support the Nigerian economy through various funding programs for Nigerian businesses.
‘From January to August 2021, total loan approvals for Nigeria were in excess of $1.89 billion and at the end of August 2021, the Bank’s total loans exposure to Nigeria was $5.5 billion, representing 26.8 per cent share of the Bank’s total loans and advances.
‘For those reasons, we also think that IATF, an Afreximbank event, deserves the full support of Nigeria,’ Elombi said.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, who was represented by the Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Export Promotion Council and President, ECOWAS TPO Network, Segun Awolowo, noted that the IATF fell squarely within the country’s market access goal of taking deliberate steps to take Nigerian products and services to Africa.
For her part, the Managing Director, Intra-African Trade Initiative, Afreximbank, Kanayo Awani, revealed that the available funding facility of the bank is to the tune of $20 billion, but lamented that the fund is currently underutilised.
She reiterated the bank’s commitment to expanding value chains, providing policy advocacies and exposure to international markets for the African business communities.