Afreximbank to launch initiative to boost intra-Africa trade

LUSAKA, April 6 (Xinhua) -- The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) intends to implement a new strategy aimed at driving Africa's industrialization and increasing intra-Africa trade by at least 50 percent in the next five years, the bank said on Wednesday.

The Afreximbank Intra-African Trade Strategy will see the bank work with partners to ramp up trade among African countries to 250 billion U.S. dollars by 2021 from its current level of 170 billion dollars.

"Intra-regional trade will drive value addition in Africa and help reduce the continent's dependence on commodities. It would also allow for the expansion of domestic trade value chains, thereby strengthening the capacity of African economies to resist economic shocks," Benedict Oramah, the bank's president said in a statement following the approval of the strategy.

"The fact that about 40 percent of intra-African trade is done in the informal sectors shows that there are institutional gaps. Afreximbank intends to play a significant role in reducing these barriers, by promoting the emergence of export trading companies and by helping to resolve regulatory and policy issues through a deepening of partnerships and bilateral trade arrangements," he added.

The strategy will involve expanding existing trading activities within Africa's regional economic communities, integrating informal trade into formal frameworks, reducing trade barriers, and minimizing the foreign exchange costs of intra-African trade.

Through the strategy, the bank will support the expansion of the production, provide a facilitative environment to increase the flow of goods and services, and deepen access of traders to African markets by creating effective and cost-efficient distribution mechanisms.