Africa's reliance on the European and American markets hurt it, says Afreximbank head

Maha Hassan, Thursday 20 Jan 2011

In an Al-Ahram interview with the president of the African Export-Import Bank, bank president talks about the importance of African Cooperation and current development projects

The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is currently holding talks with Mahmoud Abdel Latif, chairman of Bank of Alexandria, and Tarek Amer, chairman of National Bank, on the implementation of joint projects in Egypt and other African countries.

"There is an intention to finance projects that would serve infrastructure and other current projects to export Egyptian equipment to the African continent," Jean-Louis Ekra, president of African Export-Import Bank, told Al-Ahram newspaper.

Ekra focused on the importance of strengthening the development of intra-trade among the African countries, so that the countries will be able to avoid in the future the big impacts of problems in major economies. "We need the African countries to work together. The Bank is also currently focusing on increasing its financing operations for development of trade with emerging economies like India, China and Brazil," he said. On this issue, Ekra revealed that China allocated an amount of $200m to the Bank, to finance joint projects between China and Africa.

Ekra, a defender of south-south cooperation, justified the fall of growth rates in African countries following the international financial crisis by citing Africa's reliance on the European and American markets, for both imports and exports. "When these major economies in which the problem and crisis started experiencing a decline in the volume of their economic activities with other countries it had repercussions in our continent."

The Bank, which focuses on development in the black continent, is also participating in a joint project with the International Food Organization and the United Nations, with a value of $100m. The project aims at increasing agricultural production and helping to solve food insecurity.

Finally, Ekra declared that the Bank's administration is currently working on expanding the number of its shareholders so as to increase the Bank's financing capacity and raise the subscribed capital to $750m.

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