Thursday, 21 November 2013
AFRICAN AND ARAB HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT COMMENCE THEIR MEETING IN KUWAIT
Kuwait City, 17 November 2013- A meeting of the Africa Arab partnership is ongoing at Heads of State and government level in the State of Kuwaiti. The meeting will review progress in the partnership to date and endorse concrete proposals to advance political, peace and security; economic, trade and finance; agriculture and food and security; and socio-cultural cooperation between the two regions for the mutual benefit of their people. Being held under the theme “Partnership in Development and Investment”, the summit is being attended by over 60 countries from both regions. It comes after preceding preparatory meetings by ministers and experts from both regions.
African speakers at the summit’s opening ceremony today advocated strongly for Africa as a continent that has overcome many hardships and that has potential for growth and investment.
“We are the only continent whose working age population is set to grow rather than shrink….. Returns on investment (in Africa) in virtually every sector are higher than any other part of the world… Africa remains endowed with mineral, energy and other natural resources”, said AU Commission Chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.
African Union Chairperson and Prime Minister of Ethiopia Mr. Hailemarian Desalegn, who is also co-chairperson of the meeting, spoke of an Africa that has moved on from being considered a “basket case” to one that now offers new markets for growth opportunities. “With vast arable lands, water and other resources, Africa has huge potential to satisfy the food needs of the Arab world” he said.
Both Dr Dlamini Zuma and Mr Desalegn however conceded that the continent faces some challenges, such as conflict, aggression and terrorism. Mr Desalegn strongly highlighted the issue of migration and migrant labour, saying “It’s our collective responsibility”, and urged both sides to give serious and urgent attention to the issue.
The Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah who is co-Chairperson of the summit used the occasion to announce two major developments.
“….I directed officials of the Kuwaiti Fund to offer soft loans to African countries in the amount of 1 billion dollars over the next five years, he told his peers.” He also announced the intention by the State of Kuwait to earmark an annual financial award of one million dollars focusing on development research in Africa.
The 3rd Africa Arab summit will emphasize the link between stronger economic cooperation and regional integration. It will endorse private sector engagement in translating political objectives into concrete results. It will also call for increased economic cooperation. At the meeting, the Heads of State will be given an overview of the successes and challenges since the Sire meeting of 2010, which adopted a new partnership strategy and action plan 2011-2016.
At its conclusion on 20 November, the summit is expected to adopt the “Kuwait Declaration”, which will underline the determination of the heads of state and government from the two regions to achieve results across the four pillar of the partnership i.e. political, peace and security; economic, trade and finance; agriculture and food and security; and socio-cultural cooperation.
Deepened business relations helps Africa tackle financing challenges, Afreximbank President says at seminar
Afreximbank President Jean-Louis Ekra (left) in an exchange with Executive Vice President Dr. Benedict Oramah, during the seminar.
Douala (Cameroon), 19 Nov. 2013 – Deepened business relationships and partnerships among African banks and other trade financiers, resulting in credit information and risk sharing and in pooling of expertise to structure complex trade and project finance deals, is enabling Africa to address the trade and project finance challenges facing it, Jean-Louis Ekra, President of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) said today.
In an address at the opening of the annual Seminar/Workshop on Advanced Structured Trade Finance organized by Afreximbank in Douala, Cameroon, Mr. Ekra said that many bankers in Africa were beginning to use innovative structured trade finance instruments and structures to support trade development on the continent.
“We have also observed, over the last decade, a steady improvement in quality of deals being submitted to the Bank for financing by our trade and project finance intermediaries spread across the continent,” said Mr. Ekra, who noted that “Afreximbank introduced the annual seminar in 1999 to give African bankers and other players in the financial sector the capacity to structure trade and trade-related project finance deals under the difficult market conditions in Africa.”
According to the President, the seminar equips participants with the technical skills and knowledge to structure bankable trade and project finance deals and provides Afreximbank with a platform to strengthen business relationships with its clients and partner institutions.
Presentations covering various aspects of trade finance structuring were made on the opening day by speakers, including Rajiv Shah of BNP Paribas, Dr. Benedict Oramah, Executive Vice President of Afreximbank, David Franklin of the law firm of Franklin and Franklin, and Anne-Marie Woolley of Standard Bank, U.K.
The seminar participants consist of senior executives from African banks and financial institutions, hedge funds, Africa country funds and venture capital institutions, corporate entities engaged in trade, manufacturing and privatized infrastructure projects, Afreximbank’s trade finance and project finance intermediaries and African law firms.
In addition to a two-day four-session seminar segment on 19 and 20 November, the event, which is being organized in cooperation with the Central Bank of Central African States and the African Capacity Building Foundation, includes a one-day workshop on credit risk analysis on 21 November. They will be followed on 22 November by a one-day workshop on factoring.
The African Export Import Bank was established in October 1993 by African governments, African private and institutional investors, and non-African investors to finance and promote intra- and extra-African trade. Its two basic constitutive documents are the Establishment Agreement, which gives it the status of an international organization, and the Charter, which governs its corporate structure and operations. Since 1994, the Bank has approved more than $25 billion in credit facilities in support of African trade, including $3.71 billion in 2012. Afreximbank is headquartered in Cairo. For more information, visit: www.afreximbank.com
A cross section of the seminar participants.