Afreximbank Trade Roadshow underway in Banjul
By Cherno Omar Bobb
The second edition of the Afreximbank Trade Roadshow on Tuesday 3 April 2023 kicked off at Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara Conference Center.
The two-day event, geared towards brainstorming ideas to adopt inter-Africa trade, brought together central bank governors and senior banking officials across Africa.
It is organised by Afreximbank and Oakwood Green in partnership with Gambia Investment and Export Agency (GIEPA).
The theme for the event was: ‘Sustaining the intra-Africa Drive: Navigating through last miles’.
The Roadshow will serve to reinforce and activate various initiatives aimed at driving Gambia’s participation in Intra-Africa trade. The forum also featured the launch of the Intra Africa Trade Fair.
It will further serve as a follow-up on discussions commenced with key government and business entities in the country on various funding initiatives embarked upon, following last year’s Roadshow which witnessed the participation of over 500 businesses.
The transactions of these companies are currently at various stages of the approval process with Afreximbank and the outcome is expected to facilitate their business growth and improve their access to finance and other forms of support services.
The event will also provide the opportunity to entities which could not be engaged last year, to explore possible funding or structuring support from both Afreximbank and Oakwood Green.
Afreximbank is a pan-African multilateral trade finance institution created in 1993 under the auspices of the African Development Bank. It is headquartered in Cairo, Egypt.
The governor of the Central Bank of The Gambia (CBG) Buah Saidy and Babucarr Ismaila Joof, the Minister of Trade, Industry and Regional Integration & Employment addressed the gathering at the opening of the 2023 Afreximbank Gambia Trade Roadshow.
Buah Saidy, the Governor of the Central Bank of The Gambia (CBG) in his remarks on cross-border infrastructure, said the Central Bank of The Gambia has conducted a light test on commercial banks’ operations of the Pan African Payment System (PAPS) for the facilitation of inter-regional trading across Africa.
“When fully launched, it will become possible to conduct inter-trading in Africa in African national currencies. With this, a Gambian can buy goods in Sierra Leone and pay in dalasis and the Sierra Leonean seller will receive payments in Leones,” he explained.
Mr Saidy added that conducting trading through PAPS platforms will not only facilitate inter-regional trading but will save the continent from payment of millions of dollars in transfer and settlement charges as well as valuation losses.
“I wish to implore Afreximbank to accelerate and intensify support in this area so that small and medium entrepreneurs can contribute to the economic growth. As such, the extension of technical and financial support to them will lead to efficient rate and improve productivity,” he emphasized.
Babucarr Ismaila Joof, the Minister of Trade, Industry, and Regional Integration & Employment, said the forum signifies the desire of Pan Africanism of driving the African agenda in key sectors of financing.
He said Afreximbank has been the cardinal point for African governments in their collective actions to support the expansion, diversification and promotional development of African development and trade development.
“Inter-African trade has long been a topic of discussion at many levels including the African Union, ECOWAS, and other regional blocks,” he explained.
He added that for the inter-African trade to have sound effects, they must promote competitiveness, diversification, and innovation and improve productivity based on fragmentation to common currencies.
“We must also set protocols that facilitate regional trade without any pediments. The Gambia government through my ministry will continue to promote African trade through the African continental free trading,” he outlined.