The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and the Government of Cameroon have signed the two principal documents finalising the protocol toward the take-off of Afreximbank’s Central Africa Branch Office to be located in Yaound.
At a ceremony witnessed by the Prime Minister of Cameroon, Dr. Joseph Dion Ngute, in Yaounde on Friday, Afreximbank President Prof. Benedict Oramah and Mbella Mbella, Minister of External Affairs of Cameroon, signed the Branch Office Agreement and the Memorandum of Understanding Concerning the Temporary and Permanent Premises of the Central Africa Branch Office in Yaounde.
In an address preceding the signing, Dr. Ngute said that the creation of the Central Africa Branch Office by Afreximbank was a high-stake endeavor that would position the countries of the sub-region for the takeoff of African states in the wake of the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement. He commended Afreximbank for choosing to establish the Branch Office in Cameroon, saying that it was a great honour and eloquent proof of the economic and strategic role of the country in the Central Africa sub-region. “Cameroon shall spare no effort in meeting the obligations made to Afreximbank” toward the set up and running of the Branch Office, he said.
Noting that the office would be the hub of Afreximbank’s activities in the sub-region, the Prime Minister urged the business community to take advantage of the opportunity by presenting suitable transactions to the Bank for financing support.
Also speaking, Prof. Oramah said that the establishment of the Branch Office set the stage for deepening Afreximbank’s operations across the nine Central African countries which had a combined GDP of $250 billion and a trade size of about $120 billion. An immediate impact of the establishment of the Branch Office in Yaoundé would be the building of the Afreximbank Africa Trade Centre for Central Africa there, said the President. The centre would be an iconic building that would house the Bank’s regional operations and also host a world class hotel, a trade information centre, a large conference facility, and a trade exhibition facility, among others. That infrastructure would begin to change the financial landscape of Yaoundé and was expected to attract similar investments into Cameroon.
He added that Branch Office would deepen the financial services sector through improved access to affordable and competitive financing for local banks; would enable national exporters to benefit from export advisory services and trade and investment information about opportunities in other parts of Africa; and would transform the structure of national exports. Prof. Oramah encouraged the Cameroonian private sector to take advantage of the Bank’s presence to tap into its array of financial solutions to recalibrate or retool their businesses. The Bank would also seek to build a strong relationship with local financial institutions across Central Africa, equipping them with the skills necessary to power the wheels of economic development.
Afreximbank, which is headquartered in Cairo, currently has branch offices in Abidjan, Abuja, Harare and Kampala. The signing ceremony was one of three activities held by Afreximbank in Cameroon during the week. In addition to the fourth quarterly meeting of its Board of Directors, which also took place on 13 September, the Bank hosted a roadshow in Douala on 10 December and another in Yaounde on 11 December to showcase its products, pogrammes and facilities to the Cameroon business community.