Arise IIP, AEE Power, AfCFTA, African culture… Afreximbank’s latest projects

By Yara Rizk

Posted on Tuesday, 28 June 2022 13:51
Afreximbank headquarters in Cairo, Egypt©DR

Improving the energy sector, fighting inflation, developing industrial parks, better collaboration on AfCFTA, and developing the continent's cultural and creative industries are the latest objectives of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) outlined at its Annual Meetings.

At the end of Afreximbank’s Annual Meetings, which took place from 15-18 June in Cairo, several strategic partnerships were signed. At a time when Africa must demonstrate its resilience in the face of the global economic situation, the operative nature of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was at the heart of the discussions. Here is a look at the highlights of these four days.

$35 million for AEE Power

With more than 600 million Africans living without access to electricity, the development of the energy sector is a priority. In this context, Afreximbank will back a $35 million facility with AEE Power, a pan-African energy developer specialising in power infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa. The company will benefit from this line of credit to implement its expansion strategy across the continent, including Senegal, Angola, Togo, Kenya, Djibouti, Tanzania and the DRC. The new four-year package was made possible by the Afreximbank Guarantee Programme (AFGAP).

Tackling food shortages through ETG Group

Another imperative in the fight against food shortages and rising commodity prices on the continent. With the war in Ukraine severely affecting the supply chains of many commodities, Afreximbank has signed an agreement with the African trader Export Trading Group (ETG), whose mission is to connect small local producers to international markets. In total, the bank will finance ETG with $200 million to enable it to increase its budget.

Boosting industrial development with Arise IIP

An agreement was signed between Benedict Oramah, Afreximbank’s president and chairman of the board of directors, and Gagan Gupta, founder and CEO of the ARISE IIP infrastructure investment platform.

According to its official communiqué, the bank will support economic operators in industrial parks developed by Arise IIP in Gabon, Togo and Benin. The agreement also specifies a collaboration between Afreximbank and Arise IIP for the creation of laboratories for testing, inspection and certification of goods produced in the industrial parks by relying on the Africa Quality Assurance Centre (AQAC).

This is a potentially game-changing development, as, despite efforts, Africa’s industrial potential continues to be hampered by problems such as non-compliance with international standards and technical regulations, and the inability to certify local products for export.

Accelerating the structural transformation process with AfCFTA

As Afreximbank’s chief economist Hippolyte Fofack pointed out, despite the growing resilience of African economies, the region accounts for only 2.6% of international trade and less than 3% of global GDP. To change this, the economist believes that a close partnership with AfCFTA is necessary. Thus, AfCFTA secretary-general Wamkele Mene and Afreximbank president Benedict Oramah have signed a memorandum spelling out the collaboration of the two partner institutions in order to better integrate Africa into the global economy.

Developing creative and cultural industries

The highlight of the meeting was spotlighting the importance of the cultural and creative industries (CCI) for the continent’s economy. According to Afreximbank’s Fofack, Africa’s creative industries could be the goldmine of the 21st century.

“Harnessing Africa’s rich cultural heritage and the creative power of its youth can drive economic transformation in the AfCFTA era. CCIs have the power to stimulate economic growth and deepen economic integration by fuelling cultural convergence,” he said. “We believe that creative industries can be monetised and carry commercial value,” said Kanayo Awani, managing director of l’initiative pour le commerce intra-africain – IATA – (Intra-African Trade Initiative). “These creative talents also help Africa diversify away from the exclusive export of mineral and agricultural commodities, opening the door to the structural transformation of our continent.”

According to an Afreximbank report, Nollywood [the Nigerian film industry] has become the second-largest film producer and exporter in the world, and the African audiovisual industry is expected to grow by 12% by the year 2025. Confident in the sector, the bank has signed a three-year agreement with AAA Entertainment, a South African production and distribution company of African content with operations in Zimbabwe, Kenya and Nigeria.

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