Prof. Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), in the company of the Hon. Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados, Dr. the Hon. Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the Hon. Phillip Pierre, Prime Minister of St. Lucia, the Hon. Dickon Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada, H.E President Olusegun Obasanjo (GCFR), Former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Chairman of the Intra-African Trade Advisory council, as well as other dignitaries from Africa and the Caribbean community region presided over the official opening of the CARICOM office of the Bank, while reaffirming the US$1.5 billion credit limit made available to support eligible CARICOM States.
The Afreximbank CARICOM Office will support the implementation of the Partnership Agreement between Afreximbank and CARICOM member states aimed at expanding Africa-Caribbean trade and investment relations. This move cements Afreximbank’s efforts to promote and develop trade between Africa and the Caribbean, in line with its Diaspora Strategy and the African Union’s designation of the African Diaspora as Africa’s sixth region.
Speaking at the event, President Oramah said that the establishment of the Afreximbank CARICOM office remains critical to facilitating operations of the Bank in the Caribbean Community. It will bring Afreximbank’s products and initiatives closer to the business community and ensure that the Bank rapidly ramps-up operations to promote stronger relations with the Governments in the region towards the pursuit of mutually identified priorities.
“With the launch of the CARICOM Office, we can look forward to a smooth implementation of trade and access to finance initiatives, broader business origination across the CARICOM member states and more impactful results from our partnership. We also look forward to Afreximbank subsidiaries finding homes in the CARICOM, especially the Fund for Export Development in Africa (FEDA), PAPSS and AfrexInsure. Over time, CARICOM and African financial systems will become better integrated for the benefit of our people” he added.
In her remarks, Prime Minister of Barbados, the Honourable Mia Amor Mottley, stated that Africa has been a loyal friend to the Caribbean, referencing the assistance offered through the African Medical Supplies Platform during the COVID-19 pandemic. She said Africa opened its doors to the Caribbean Community and facilitated access to equipment, therapeutics, and ultimately vaccines, with the payment mechanism facilitated through Afreximbank. Prime Minister Mottley went on to laud the establishment of the Afreximbank CARICOM office, noting that this new office is the culmination of promises made by the Bank during the first AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum held in Barbados in 2022.
“This is not just a proud moment historically, but it is also a move that makes sense that will benefit our regional private sector and our regional state-owned corporations who need access to a more empathetic, reasonable bank and one willing to take risks that would allow our people to move and grow to the next level,” she stated.
In December 2022, the Board of Directors of African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) approved US$1.5 billion funding to enable member states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) that had ratified the Partnership Agreement with Afreximbank to tap into the Bank’s various financial instruments. As of July 2023, eleven out of the fifteen CARICOM member states had signed the Partnership with Afreximbank. The financing will be targeted at supporting critical economic sectors aimed at boosting the development of trade-enabling infrastructure, as well as enhancing trade and investments between Africa and the CARICOM member states, while providing support to small and medium enterprises. The bank has also committed to increase the credit limit to US$3 billion.