A delegation from South Africa’s Kwazulu-Natal (KZN) province led by Premier Sihle Zikalala has visited the headquarters of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) for meetings to explore opportunities for collaboration between the Province and the Bank.
Receiving the delegation in Cairo on 4 September, Afreximbank President Prof. Benedict Oramah said that the Bank looked forward to working with the province on various initiatives as the province’s vision aligned with those of the Bank in many areas.
Prof. Oramah said that Kwazulu-Natal could be a shining example in South Africa, given its impact and strategic location as home to two of the country’s largest seaports located in Durban and Richards Bay.
He expressed appreciation to KZN for offering to host the 20th Afreximbank Trade Finance Seminar which is scheduled to take place in Durban, South Africa, in November and said that the event would not only benefit the province but would also profit financial practitioners who could share the knowledge gained with their counterparts.
Prof. Oramah informed the delegation about the various products available from the Bank, noting that many could apply to the initiatives and projects planned by the province. He highlighted the new digital initiatives the Bank was driving, including the Pan African Payments and Settlements System, which was poised to change the face of trade in Africa by reducing the use of foreign currencies for trade and allowing settlement of trades in local currencies; the Trade Information Portal; and the MANSA Repository platform, which would assist banks and other entities in performing customer due diligence checks and addressing KYC issues.
Mr. Zikalala said that Kwazulu-Natal had identified several initiatives and projects it was keen to work on with the Bank and expressed the hope that “the conversations could begin in earnest”.
“In addition, we are looking forward to hosting the upcoming Afreximbank Trade Finance Seminar in Durban in November,” said the Premier, pledging that Kwazulu Natal was committed to its success.
“We must encourage trade,” he said, “and we look forward to further developing Africa.”
Mr. Zikalala expressed Kwazulu-Natal’s interest in bidding to host the Intra-African Trade Fair in 2022.
Neville Matjie, CEO of Trade & Investment KZN, gave a presentation about the province, saying that it had the second largest GDP in South Africa, accounting for 16 per cent of the national GDP, after Guateng which accounts for 34 per cent. The province was focused on developing the manufacturing, tourism, agriculture and agro-processing, property and infrastructure, services, transport and logistics and ocean economy sectors.
Also on the KZN delegation were Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya, Ambassador of South Africa to Egypt; Nomusa Dube-Ncube, the Member of the Executive Council for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs; Siza Sibande, Head of Department, Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs; Sam Khuzwayo, Chief of Staff, Office of the Premier; Nqobisile Mbodla, Head of Ministry, Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs; Sonto Mayise, Head Convention Bureau Officer; and Nelisiwe Mkhize, Personal Assistant to the Premier.
Joining President Oramah from Afreximbank were Gwen Mwaba, Director, Trade Finance; Kofi Adomakoh, Director, Project and Asset Based Finance (PABF); Richman Dzene, Special Assistant to the President; Derin Fajuyitan of the Project Finance Department; Mohammed Sayed of the Client Relations Department; Jean-Christian Koudou of the Export Development Unit; Fatma Bao of the Guarantees and Specialised Finance unit; Olawale Kolawole of the Protocol Unit; Adaeze Anyaoku of the Communications and Events Department; and Hillary Kumwenda of the Intra-African Trade Initiative.