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Afreximbank Urges Harnessing Of Africa’s Youth, Digital Technology Resources

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Pan-African multilateral finance institution, African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), has harped on the need to leverage Africa’s youth and digital technology resources in the quest for the development across the continent.

The Bank also canvassed for increasing intra-African trade, providing insight into the challenges restricting trade and providing clear solutions as to how the continent can resolve them.

Notably, Africa’s youth represent the key to accelerating strong and sustainable economic growth. Representing one of the youngest and fastest growing populations worldwide, the continent has all the ingredients to create highly attractive domestic markets on the back of improved intra-African trade and commerce

President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank, Prof. Benedict Okechukwu Oramah made the observation while speaking at the 29th Annual Meetings of Bank on Wednesday in Cairo, Egypt.

Prof. Oramah called for an increase in intra-African trade and financing on the back of the continent’s youth and technology resources.

His suggestions come at a time when Africa is well positioned to become a highly competitive trade hub. In January 2021, the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) was implemented, ushering in a new era of simplified trade in Africa.

Unfortunately, in the last one year, the continent has been slow to unlock the full potential of this agreement, leading to an accelerated push by the Afreximbank to promote intra-African trade and finance in Africa.

According to him, while the problem was identified decades ago, it is only now that Africa can boast of possessing a combination of factors that can resolve it.

He said there consist of visionary and committed leadership, the youth, and digital technology.

“Our leadership has done the courageous work of giving us the AfCFTA. A lot now hinges on our youth. It is for this reason that Afreximbank dedicated this year’s Annual Meeting to the theme, “Realizing the AfCFTA Potential in the Post-COVID-19 Era: Leveraging the Power of The Youth.

It is our view that the youth will be the catalytic force to the realization of the continental agenda. Indeed, the youth have always been the catalyst to economic transformations and at the base of every industrial revolution in advanced economies. It is no coincidence that at the height of each Industrial Revolution, youth constituted the largest proportion of the labor force and population”, he said.

Prof. Oramah noted that by focusing on capacity building, skills transfer and the upliftment of the domestic workforce, while at the same time injecting capital into small to medium enterprises and African startups, the continent will see intra-African trade expanded and market growth realized.

“Whether a youth-powered AfCFTA will trigger a continental economic explosion or whether the next decades will become ‘Lost Decades’ for Africa will depend on how we creatively deploy the energies and talents of the continent’s youth to implement the AfCFTA”, he stressed.

The African Energy Chamber (AEC), as the voice of the African energy sector, described Afreximbank as a trade-finance focused development bank, that is not only an advocate but key driver of Africa’s economic growth, adding that it recognizes the contributions of the bank to Africa’s developmental future.

The AEC therefore commended the organization for its drive, adding that it will support Afreximbank as it moves to awaken Africa’s full developmental potential.
Executive Chairman of AEC, NJ Ayuk observed that as a trade-finance focused development bank, Afreximbank is not only an advocate but key driver of Africa’s economic growth, adding that the AEC recognizes the contributions of the bank to Africa’s developmental future.

“We believe that Afreximbank’s demonstrated drive for enhanced intra-African trade will only strengthen Africa’s socioeconomic development. Frameworks such as the AfCFTA have made it possible to increase trade within and across the continent, and now, every day Africans need to capitalize on the opportunities presented by this framework and develop an Africa that we are proud of, an Africa that everyday Africans deserve.

“Going forward, it is important for us to de-risk African investments and drive commercial opportunities within African countries. Afreximbank has been one of the main drivers of energy transactions across the continent and have been willing to drive up things including solar, wind and other renewables, as well as oil and natural gas. What’s more, in a post-COVID-19 era, Afreximbank stood with Africans, assessing communities that are at risk and made sure vaccinations were provided”, he further explained.

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