The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is continuing its push to make $25 billion in credit lines available to 500 banks across the continent that would help to facilitate intra-African trade.
Already, it has opened credit lines amounting to $800 million to 55 banks across Africa in line with this objective.
Benedict Oramah, the bank’s president, disclosed this at the signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement in Kigali.
Oramah said under the strategy launched in 2016, about $25 billion would be disbursed in support of intra-African trade during the five years ending in 2021.
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He said the bank’s goal was to extend such lines to at least 500 banks in all African countries by 2021 in order to significantly reduce the cost of intra-African trade finance.
According to him, the aim is to counter the constraints posed by country risks associated with the confirmation of such letters of credit.
Oramah said Afreximbank was also on the verge of launching an intra-African trade platform that would facilitate the clearing and settlement of intra-African trade transactions in African currencies.
He said the platform would significantly reduce the use of hard currencies in the settlement of such trade.
He said 44 African countries had so far signed the agreement establishing the AfCFTA, while 43 countries signed the Kigali Declaration for the launch of the AfCFTA.
He said 25 countries had also signed the Protocol to the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community relating to Free Movement of Persons, Right of Residence and Right of Establishment.