Banks challenged to fund intra-Africa trade, devt initiatives

Banks challenged to fund intra-Africa trade, devt initiativesAfrican Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has been lauded for supporting development initiatives and trade on the continent. Tony O. Elumelu, the chairman of Heirs Holdings and the Tony Elumelu Foundation, said the support the bank provides African businesses, adding that its significant contribution to the development of cross-border trade will spur investment in the long-run.

“Afreximbank brings a unique and relevant perspective to the challenge of supporting intra-African trade flow and ensuring value is created in and exported from the continent,” he said.

“I urge other development finance institutions to follow its example in providing ‘transformational funding’ to African businesses,” he added.

Elumelu was presenting a paper at the just-concluded 24th Annual General Meeting of Afreximbank in Kigali last week on the topic, “Cross-border Investments as a Driver of Intra-African Trade and Industrialisation: Reflections from a Continental Business Leader”.

Themed, “Trade and Economic Transformation”, this year’s Afreximbank AGM gathered high level leaders from the public and private sectors, African Ministers of Finance, Trade and Investment, Central Bank Governors, and senior government officials and focused on initiatives that could help spur intra and extra-regional trade in Africa.

Elumelu said it is important to attract long-term investment in critical sectors, such as infrastructure, power, finance and agriculture to strengthen Africa’s ability to attract more investments.

“An investment is not just about profit and returns. It is also about sustainability. That’s why we must invest in Africa as Africans. We appreciate and welcome partnerships, but there is a generation of African businessmen and women who have the capability and ambition to lead and transform Africa’s future. Let your money work in Africa.”

The Nigerian businessman also highlighted the importance of entrepreneurship mentoring, saying that’s the reason why the Tony Elumelu Foundation supports 1,000 promising businesses annually.

The organisation targets to train and mentor 10,000 entrepreneurs over 10 years.

Signing a $100 million facility with Afreximbank

Meanwhile, Afreximbank and Heirs Holdings signed a $100 million facility to fund cross-border investment. Heirs Holdings has interests in energy, financial services, real estate and hospitality across 20 African countries.

Elumelu also called on African business leaders to promote corporate governance and transparency, saying that ethical conduct is critical to business growth.