All hands must be on deck to make AfCFTA work – Prof. Oramah


Professor Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim­

 bank), has urged key stakeholders in Africa to ensure that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) is utilised to promote intra-African trade.

He emphasised that the con­tinent’s dream of industrialisation could only be realised if the Af­CFTA was used to promote trade among African countries

“I say this because working with the African Union Commis­sion and the AfCFTA Secretariat, Afreximbank has supported the delivery of critical AfCFTA-en­abling instruments,” he said at the Presidential Summit held under the ongoing third Intra-African Trade Fair which took place here on Monday.

The President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah al Sisi, was the guest of honour at the event.

 “The Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) is set up and running and, in fact, being demonstrated here at the Fair. Eleven African central banks and 81 commercial banks have joined the System, making intra-African payments quicker, cheaper, more efficient and in African currencies. Afreximbank supports PAPSS with a settlement and clearing fund of $3 billion,” he said.

He said the African Collabo­rative Transit Guarantee Scheme had commenced operations in the COMESA Region, with Afrex­imbank as the regional guarantor, making the movement of goods across Africa’s 110 multiple borders easier, faster, and cheaper.

Prof. Oramah explained that the combination of the PAPSS and the Transit Scheme would reduce the foreign currency cost of paying for transit bonds.

The AfCFTA Adjustment Fund, he said, had been established and would be operational by early next year on the $1 billion Afrexim­bank had approved in support.

“Today, we have added to our various AfCFTA-enabling initia­tives when we launch Afreximbank Intra-African Engineer, Procure, and Construct Contract Promotion Programme, an initiative which seeks to empower African compa­nies to successfully bid for, win and execute infrastructural contracts in Africa through capacity building, twinning, market access opportu­nities, financing, guarantees and technology solutions,” he said.

The initiative, he noted, would help African contractors to par­ticipate in the 60 billion US dollar annual infrastructure investments within Africa, unlike the current practice where most of the con­tracts go to non-African entities.

MrWamkeleMene, Secretary General of the African Continen­tal Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, commended Egypt for hosting the IATF for the second time and for supporting the imple­mentation of the AfCFTA

He noted that Egypt had taken the lead in establishing the AfCFTA Trading Company which aimed to strengthen ties among the member countries of the AfCFTA.

MrMene announced that a pro­tocol for investment was in place and that efforts were being made to establish an investment protocol which would assist in the devel­opment of the Pan-African Trade Investment Agency to facilitate investments across the continent

Mr Albert Muchanga, African Union Commissioner for Econom­ic Development, Trade, Tourism, Industry and Minerals, said that in­tra-African trade and the AfCFTA were the gateway to prosperity for the countries of Africa.

Chief OlusegunObasanjo, Chairman of the IATF2023 Advi­sory Council and former President of Nigeria, said that the IATF had been a success to date, recording significant milestones, including the introduction of the African Buyers Programme, in the thrust to pro­mote greater trade among African nations.