Africa has the money to meet the estimated $300 billion annual cost required for the attainment of the 10-year plan under the African Union’s Agenda 2063, Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), has said.
Addressing guests at the World Youth Forum 2018 organised recently in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, Prof. Oramah noted that Africa’s foreign exchange reserves currently stood at almost $500 billion and had consistently been above that figure until the commodity price shock in 2015/2016.
The continent also had about $800 billion under management by pension funds in the 12 African countries where the market was most developed, with that figure forecast to rise to $1.1 trillion by 2020, continued the President. In addition, Africa received $63 billion in migrant remittances annually, showing that the continent had more than $1 trillion that it could use to finance the $300 billion of investment that was required.
He said that the challenge was that the reserves were sitting outside Africa, earning little or nothing, and that when African countries tried to borrow the same money, they ended up paying very high rates.
Prof. Oramah said that the continent needed to look inward, asking, “Why can’t we do something about it? Why can’t we recycle some of our money? Why can’t we do what some of the Asian countries have done?”.
He announced that Afreximbank had attempted to answer those questions by giving itself an objective to raise $10 billion from Africa in five years to support its business. It had been surprised to have raised $5.7 billion in the first year.
The President said that Africa had to find a way to more effectively use the migrant revenue that was coming into the continent and highlighted the need to democratize investment opportunities in Africa. People should not look to governments alone to make investments but should bring in private money, he added.
President Oramah participated in a panel on “Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want” and was joined by Sameh Shoukry, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt; Arnauld Alndji, Ministrr of Equal Opportunities, Youth and Gabonese Abroad of Gabon; Evelyne Butoyi, Minister of Youth, Posts and Information Technologies of Burundi; and Gunter Nooke, Personal Representative of the German Chancellor for Africa.
The session was attended by President Abdel Fattah El Sissi of Egypt who delivered his final comments at the Forum after the session.