Thursday, February 06, 2020 / 7.00PM / Ottoabasi Abasiekong for WebTV / Header Image Credit: WebTV
Africa's quest for private capital investments hinges on its ability to deepen intra-regional trade. The President of the African Export-Import Bank (AFREXIM), Professor Benedict Oramah, disclosed this as the keynote speaker at the 17th Annual lecture symposium of the Centre for Values and Leadership (CVL) in Lagos.
Professor Oramah said Africa needs real-time private capital investments that will transform the continent, which will require a sellable and compelling business case for investors.
The AFREXIM President believed that as African nations continue to trade amongst themselves, the industrial capacities will develop, which will set the region as a strategic one in the global economy.
According to him, the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, AfCFTA signed by the other 50 countries is a welcome development to the continent, and a positive step taken by the political leaders to drive integration and trade.
He said it was time for Africa to review the challenge of having 84,000km border size and 42 convertible currencies, which will impede the prospects of enhancing the continental free trade agreement.
Oramah informed stakeholders at the event that AFREXIM Bank has committed $25bn on a revolving basis in support of Intra-African Trade since 2017.
Speaking further, he stated that AFREXIM had signed a partnership with Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, for the establishment of a Centre for AfCFTA studies that will enable research and development.
"Africa needs partnerships beyond aid & grants founded on mutual respect and trust. One that guarantees a win-win situation and shared prosperity," Prof Oramah said.
He stressed the fact that the total budget of African governments cannot meet up with the over $100bn annual infrastructure deficit of the continent, hence the need for mechanisms that will create the enabling environment for courting private capital into the region.
The Chairman of the occasion and former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Joseph Sanusi, commended the Centre for Values and Leadership (CVL) and its founder Professor Pat Utomi for hosting 17 editions of strategic discussions on issues that affect the socio-economic landscape of Nigeria and Africa.
Mr. Sanusi acknowledged the fact that the issue of Intra-African trade has been on the front-burner since the establishment of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS.
He underscored the importance of competitiveness, which is key to driving productive African economies and Industrialization in the continent, and called for caution on the policies around border closures which affects the integration process.
In her opening remarks, Professor Ifeoma Utomi the Chairperson of the board of CVL described the event as an annual talkfest that geared to providing solutions to the socio-economic challenges in Nigeria and even Africa.
The event had in attendance three (3) Deputy Governors, namely; Engr Obafemi Hamzat, Lagos State, Alhaji Umar Namadi, Jigawa State and Mr. Phillip Shuaibu, Edo State.
The Annual leadership symposium of the Centre for Values and Leadership commemorates the birth of its founder and Elder Statesman, Professor Pat Utomi.