The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has welcomed Equatorial Guinea as its 50th member state with the country’s signing of the Instrument of Accession to the Bank’s Establishment Agreement in Malabo on Wednesday.
Lucas Abaga Nchama, Minister of Finance, Economy and Planning of Equatorial Guinea, signed the Instrument on behalf of the Government during a ceremony witnessed by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea and an Afreximbank delegation led by Bank President Dr. Benedict Oramah.
Addressing the ceremony, Dr. Oramah expressed delight at welcoming Equatorial Guinea “as our newest and 50th participating member state”, remarking at its significance as it “also closely coincides with Equatorial Guinea’s celebration of 50 years’ of its independence in October”. He praised the pan-Africanist disposition of the President Nguema Mbasogo, citing many interventions he spearheaded in that regard.
Dr. Oramah noted that, with its many natural resources, Equatorial Guinea offered great prospects for regional trade, the development of industrial capacity and value-added exports, and said that Afreximbank would support the country’s drive for sustainable economic growth by providing it with financing facilities with a country limit of $750 million.
According to the President, the Bank’s intervention will assist Equatorial Guinea to address the challenging conditions confronting its economy in recent years as a result of weak commodity prices. He noted that the country had been widely renowned as a leading exporter of oil, natural gas, timber, cocoa and fish.
Responding, President Nguema Mbasogo commended Afreximbank’s commitment to driving the transformation of trade in Africa and expressed confidence that Equatorial Guinea’s membership would contribute to the Bank’s development efforts in Africa.
“Historically, Equatorial Guinea had supported many African economies on a bilateral basis,” he said. “Now, Afreximbank offers the opportunity for Equatorial Guinea to continue providing support under a multilateral framework.”
The Afreximbank delegation also held meetings with Mr. Nchama, the Minister of Finance, Economy and Planning; Fortunato Ofa Mbo Nchama, President of the Development Bank of the Central African States; and Marcelino Owono Edu, Special Adviser to the President of Equatorial Guinea on Economic Affairs.
Membership of the Bank gives the Equatorial Guinea access to the full range of products and facilities offered by Afreximbank, including trade and project finance facilities, guarantees, trade information and advisory services, support in the development of a local content policy and assistance in developing and implementing industrial parks and special economic zones.
Countries currently on the list of Afreximbank participating and shareholding states include Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Central Africa Republic, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, and Lesotho. Others are Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Sao Tome and Principe, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
. Afreximbank shareholders are a mix of public and private entities divided into four classes and consist of African governments, central banks, regional and sub-regional institutions, private investors and financial institutions, as well as non-African financial institutions, export credit agencies and private investors.
Accompanying President Oramah on the Afreximbank delegation were Dr. George Elombi, Executive Vice President; Rene Awambeng, Global Head Client Relations; and Vitalis Uzor Ekene, Special Assistant to the President on Banking and Strategy.