Afreximbank announces stellar 2016 results as President Kagame urges increased intra-African trade
The 24th Annual General Meeting of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) ended in Kigali on Saturday with President Paul Kagame of Rwanda saying that the many economic challenges confronting Africa should drive African countries to urgently increase trade among themselves.
“These factors should not just remain objects of reference,” he told delegates. “Instead, they should drive us to urgently increase trade with each other, invest more within our countries and regions, and build joint infrastructure, in order to better facilitate the movement of people and goods within Africa.”
President Kagame urged African Governments and the private sector to make the most of the possibilities offered by Afreximbank, noting that, for the last two decades, the Bank had been raising money, financing strategic projects and contributing to Africa’s pursuit of prosperity and independence.
Earlier, in his report to the AGM, Bank President Dr, Benedict Oramah, announced that the institution’s cumulative facility approvals had reached $50 billion, due to record approvals of $10 billion in 2016, and that the Bank’s total assets amounted to about $12 billion in 2016, following a 64 per cent increase from a year earlier.
“Loans growth quickened by about 65 per cent to reach $10 billion and constituted 87 per cent of total assets. Net income rose strongly by 32 per cent from $125 million in 2015 to $165 million in 2016 on sharply rising interest income, which increased by 30 per cent, from $372 million to $484 million. New equity injections and internal capital generation raised shareholders’ funds by 28 per cent to end 2016 at $1.63 billion,” added the President.
He said that since the last AGM, Sao Tome and Principe, Djibouti, Burundi, South Sudan and Madagascar had joined the Bank as Participating States, bringing the number of Participating States and Shareholder countries to 45. Togo, Econet Global, Locafrique of Senegal, Atlantic Financial Group, and MBCA Bank Limited of Zimbabwe also became new shareholders in the equity of the Bank.
Dr. Oramah said that the Bank had received one-notch increase in the its long term credit rating by Moody’s, from Baa2 to Baa1, as a result of a credit enhancement which the Bank implemented to strengthen the quality of buffer conferred by its callable capital.
Also speaking, Dr Peter Larose, Minister of Finance of Seychelles and Chairman of the General Meeting of Shareholders, said that despite the challenges, Afreximbank had continued to validate the wisdom of its founders who created an institution to assist the continent in trying times.
“A shining example was the Countercyclical Trade Liquidity Facility, which was developed to avail foreign currency liquidity to African central banks to cushion them from the impact of adverse economic conditions, and under which $6.45 billion was disbursed by end of 2016, going a long way in stabilizing the economies of beneficiary economies,” he said.
Dr. Larose announced that that the Bank’s Board of Directors had proposed a dividend declaration of $37.96 million to shareholders, a 32 per cent increase on the $28.82 million declared the previous year.
The meeting also featured the election of Claver Gatete, Minister of Finance of Rwanda, to take over as the new Chairman of the General Meeting of Shareholders
Activities related to the AGM began on 28 June with two days of seminars, followed on June 30 by the meeting of the Afreximbank Advisory Group on Trade Finance and Export Development in Africa. An investment forum, hosted by the Rwandese Government, and a trade exhibition also took place on 30 June, before the formal AGM on 1 July. The activities concluded with a conversation session with President Kagame.
More than 100 speakers, including ministers of trade, central bank governors, academics, African and global trade development experts, and business leaders, spoke during the four days of the Annual General Meeting and related events, which focused on the theme “unlocking Africa’s trade potential”.
Address by President Paul Kagame at the Afreximbank 24th Annual General Meeting
Kigali, 1 July 2017
I am very pleased to welcome you all to Rwanda. I trust that you’ve had a productive and enjoyable stay here. I also wish to thank Afreximbank for allowing and enabling us to be the host this meeting.
Let me start by acknowledging the significance of a primarily African-owned institution, serving the needs of African businesses and economies.
It is important to celebrate our successes.
For the last two decades, AfreximBank has been raising money, financing strategic projects and contributing to Africa’s pursuit of prosperity, and independence.
I thank you for your valuable partnership and support.
We still have a long way to go, and more work to do, to strengthen continental integration and raise the share of intra-African trade, which at 15%, is unacceptably low.
Africa needs to be more resilient in the face of consistent global shocks and increasing protectionism.
Too often, we find ourselves at a disadvantage when negotiating trade with other parts of the world.
And within all this, there is the ever increasing need for Africa to industrialise.
These factors should not just remain objects of reference.
Instead, they should drive us to urgently increase trade with each other, invest more within our countries and regions, and build joint infrastructure, in order to better facilitate the movement of people and goods within Africa.
Governments and the private sector should make the most of possibilities offered by Afreximbank, which has established the facilities, expertise, and productive relationships with external funding partners.
I understand that other African financial institutions are represented at this meeting. I trust that you will continue to collaborate closely to multiply the impact of your efforts.
But trade depends on more than finance. Many trade facilitation efforts require little more than political will.
We have examples in some regions where removal of barriers to trade have greatly improved the business environment.
These lessons need to be shared more widely across the continent so that Africans can reap the full benefits of integration.
Finally, the African Union, in the ongoing institutional reforms, will focus on key priorities, with other responsibilities going to regional organisations.
This presents opportunities for institutions like Afreximbank to play an even more robust role in supporting the continent’s shared goals.
However, there is a fundamental element in these reforms that the African Union is undertaking, and in general, the efforts we are all investing to develop our continent. And that is a mindset for success. Above all, there is a need for that mindset change.
We will succeed if we believe that Africa deserves it, that we have the capacity to do what needs to be done, and that unity and collaboration is the best way to get results.
Once again, I thank Afreximbank for your service to the continent and wish you success in this mission that we share with you.
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