Egypt is one of the largest beneficiaries of lending activities by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), with current total exposure standing at about $5.2 billion, the President of the Bank, Dr. Benedict Oramah, has said.
He said that the Bank’s interventions in Egypt included its Egypt-Africa Trade Promotion Programme, which was launched in 2015 to assist Egyptian entities tap into the rapidly expanding trade and investment opportunities in the rest of Africa, with an approved amount of up to $500 million. That amount had been fully utilized and the Bank was seeking to expand it to $1 billion.
Afreximbank was also working with the Export Development Bank of Egypt to create export Credit support schemes to enable exporters compete in other African countries and increase their export volumes in there while bearing a minimal risk, added Dr. Oramah.
He highlighted opportunities for Egyptian exporters to export to other African countries, saying that they should take advantage of the fact that Africa was one of the fastest growing economies, with a total population of about one billion, a growing urban population and a GDP of about $2 trillion.
The Bank was supporting large Egyptian exporters, particularly in the engineering, construction and power sectors, by taking their counterparty risks in target African countries, he continued, saying that, Afreximbank had provided facilities in excess of $1.5 billion in that regard.
Afreximbank was also assisting Egyptian small- and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) to grow and boost their exports, Dr. Oramah said, highlighting its collaboration with the Central Bank of Egypt to support key strategic sectors. As part of that collaboration, Afreximbank recently executed facilities totalling $500 million to key state-owned commercial banks for on-lending to SMEs and enterprises engaged in labour-intensive export-oriented light manufacturing.
He said that the main obstacle hindering intra-African trade was lack of information to traders in African markets, noting, for instance, that a lot of African countries were unaware that Egypt produced very high quality textiles and was strong in the food and pharmaceutical sectors.
To address that challenge, Afreximbank had created a Trade Information unit to help build up and disseminate information about the market to exporters, stated President Oramah.
The two-day conference attracted some 900 delegates from 30 countries, including several Egyptian Ministers, CEOs of banks and other corporate entities, regulators and development finance institutions.