An African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) delegation led by Bank President Prof. Benedict Oramah, in Washington D.C. for the 2019 World Bank-IMF Spring Meetings, took advantage of the presence of finance ministers, institutional leaders and other high-ranking officials to engage in meetings and discussions focusing on the work of the Bank and its support for intra-African trade and the development of African economies.
Minister of Finance of Nigeria
In a meeting with Nigerian Finance Minister Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, Prof. Oramah briefed the minister on the Bank’s activities in support of the Nigerian economy.
Minister of Finance of Gabon
President Oramah also received Jean Marie Ogandaga, Minister of Planning of Gabon, who was accompanied by Emmanuel Berre, the Minister of Economy, Francis Lendon, the General Director, Debt Management Office, Michèle Lamarche, Financial Advisor, Hamouda Chérir, Financial Advisor, and Jérôme Alexis, also a Financial Advisor.
Minister of Finance Burundi
Prof. Oramah also received Domitien Ndihokubwayo, Minister of Finance of Burundi, informing him that the Bank’s Board of Directors approved a country programme for Burundi during its meeting in March.
Mr. Ndihokubwayo welcomed the approval of the country programme and said that it would enable Burundi to diversify its economy, describing such diversification as a priority of the government.
Governor of Reserve Bank of Malawi
The delegation also received Dalitso Kabambe, Governor of the Reserve Bank of Malawi who said that the Bank had made it possible for the Kwacha and the Malawian economy at large to become stable.
He extended an invitation to Prof. Oramah to visit Malawi in July, saying that the country’s president was looking forward to receiving him.
Mr. Kabambe said that the country expected a 5.5 percent growth in 2019, adding that the figure would have been higher if not for tropical cyclone IDAI which devastated the nation. The country had also been badly affected due to its high dependency for logistics on ports in Mozambique which handled most goods imported into Malawi.
Mr. Kabambe said that Malawi was considering several projects, including cement manufacturing, a fisheries project on lake Malawi and an integrated tourism project.
Prof. Oramah commiserated with the government and people of Malawi on the devastation caused by cyclone IDAI and said that Afreximbank was standing in solidarity with them as evidenced by its recent donation to aid the victims in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
Accompanying the governor was Rodrick Wiyo, Director, Financial Markets.
Development Bank of Central African States
President Oramah met with Fortunato Offa Mbo Nchama, President of the Development Bank of Central African States, who was accompanied by Gil Blas Sop Tagne, Director of Cabinet; Jean Paterne Megne Ekoga, Director of Operations, and Oscar Ephraim Ngole, Director of General Control. The discussions focused on how the two institutions could strengthen collaboration in driving intra-African trade.
Capital Markets Development and Euroclearability Impacts Roundtable
Prof. Oramah was a speaker at the Capital Markets Development and Euroclearability Impacts roundtable organized by Euroclear and PWC to discuss capital markets. Responding to a question on local currency funding, Prof Oramah said that Africa’s U.S. dollar debt profile was increasing, making the development of local currency funding important. He noted that Africa was still held back by a vicious circle of low savings and low productivity, leading to low income and ultimately low savings. Things had, however, improved since the commodity crisis.
He added that Africa’s pension fund assets, estimated at $600 billion, were not channeled into financing domestic infrastructure, partly because the capital markets were too fragmented. African capital markets did not also attract investors because of low liquidity.
President Oramah said that Afreximbank was working on initiatives that would drive local currency funding in Africa and that Euroclear could help advance that objective.
SOUTH SUDAN EMBASSY EVENT
Prof. Oramah delivered the keynote address at the “Invest in South Sudan” event hosted by the South Sudanese Embassy in Washington, D.C., to encourage investment in South Sudan’s mineral and petroleum sectors. Prof. Oramah recommended that such investment should include a focus on hydro power
West African Monetary Institute
Prof Oramah also held a meeting with Dr. Ngozi Egbuna, Director General of the West African Monetary Institute (WAMI), who was accompanied by J.H Tel Kitcher, Director, Multilateral Surveillance and Trade. The meeting discussed the collaboration between Afreximbank and WAMI on the Pan-African Payments and Settlement Platform.
Banque Centrale Des Etats De L’Afrique De L’Ouest
Prof. Oramah met with Tiemoko Meyliet Kone, Governor of the Central Bank of West African States, briefing him on Afreximbank’s activities and initiatives. The two discussed ways of strengthening collaboration.
Minister of Finance of Somalia
The delegation closed the mission with a meeting with Dr. Abdirahman D. Beileh, Minister of Finance of Somalia, during which Rene Awambeng, Director of Client Relations, who stood in for President Oramah, briefed the minister about the work of the Bank and explained the procedure for countries wishing to become members of the Bank.
Mr. Awambeng noted that the Bank and Somalia had been in discussion with regards to the country joining the Bank.