The shareholders of the African Export-Import Bank have selected China to be the first non-African host of their general meeting, which opens in Beijing on July 10.
Also known as Afreximbank, the lending institution will have a seven-day meeting that is expected to serve as a platform for African countries to better understand China, exchange experiences as developing nations and seek opportunities for deeper business cooperation.
The Forum on China-Africa Financial Cooperation is also scheduled to be held concurrently with the meeting as well as an investment forum, a seminar and a trade exhibition.
China Eximbank, the host of the meeting, is a major shareholder of Afreximbank relative to other non-African institutions and private investors.
The two banks have maintained a close business relationship over the past few years.
In May 2009, China Eximbank provided a $100 million line of credit to Afreximbank, which has strongly supported imports of key equipment in Africa, especially in the telecommunications sector.
Afreximbank, headquartered in Cairo, Egypt, is a multilateral financial institution founded for promoting trade within Africa as well as economic ties between the continent and the rest of the world.
The General Meeting of Shareholders is its highest decision-making body.
The bank was founded in 1993 at a time when large international banks cut their lines of credit to Africa because of the impact of the international debt crisis in the mid-1980s and the 1990s. Consequentially, trade development in Africa was adversely affected.
Afreximbank started operations in September 1994 and now has branches in Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Tunisia.
The shareholders of Afreximbank fall into three categories – African sovereign states and regional financial institutions make up Class A; African private financial institutions and investors, Class B; and non-African institutions and private investors, Class C.
The bank had 122 shareholders as of August 2011.
Every session of the shareholders meeting involves around 200 delegates. In addition to shareholders, the bank also invites a number of observers and other organizations to attend the meeting.
The bank is engaged in a wide range of ventures, such as agriculture, energy, mining, transportation, tourism, telecommunications, financial services and small-scale manufacturing and processing.
The bank had total assets worth $1.9 billion at the end of 2010, with a net profit of $44.4 million.
Bank of China, as a non-African commercial bank, became one of the initial shareholders of Afreximbank in October 1993 after purchasing 300 shares.
It also took part in the first General Meeting of Shareholders held that year in Nigeria.
Three years later, the shares were transferred to China Eximbank. In 2007, China Eximbank decided to purchase another 700 shares, making it the second-largest shareholder of Afreximbank in Class C, with a total of 1,000 shares.
Following that, one of the vice-presidents of China Eximbank, Liu Liange, was elected director of Afreximbank in September 2007 and reelected in July 2010.
In September 2010, the 85th Board Meeting of Afreximbank was hosted by China Eximbank in Beijing. As the first Board Meeting held in a member country outside the African continent, it played an important role in strengthening cooperation with Chinese financial institutions and Chinese companies and boosting the comprehensive development of China-Africa strategic partnership.