Reposition Afreximbank for post-COVID-19 prospects, economist tasks Oramah
President of African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim), Prof. Benedict Oramah, has been challenged to reposition the bank for post-COVID-19 economy. Political economist, Dr. Obiora Okonkwo, who gave the charge, said the COVID-19 global pandemic has deepened the need for a continental integrated market to improve intra-African trade, stressing that the coronavirus pandemic has triggered some shocks in the continent’s economy.
While congratulating Prof. Oramah on his re-appointment as the President of the Cairo-based Pan-African multilateral financial institution, Okonkwo recalled how within a short time on the saddle, the bank recorded giant strides in Africa’s business.
On the likely solutions to post-COVID-19 pandemic shocks to the continent’s economy, he said: “An integrated market will be a major boost to intra-African trade, because Africa is a very large market. A boost to intra-Africa trade will go a long way to recreate many business models across the continent.”
Okonkwo noted that African businesses can focus more on satisfying the needs and wants on the continent, as “doing so will bring about a lot of innovative improvement that consumers look forward to.”
He said Oramah’s reappointment to lead the bank to 2024, is a recognition of his dexterity and hard work in repositioning Afrexim Bank to achieve its mandate, especially in the post-Covid-9 era.
“I have no doubt that Prof. Oramah will make major and strategic impacts on continental trade during this period. I will encourage Nigerians to take advantage of the new focus on intra-Africa trade, especially with the foundations laid by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), to improve on their products and enter other markets within the continent,” he said.
He also extolled Oramah’s understanding of the African business environment, adding that he is “a strong advocate of an African integrated market, which will improve intra-African trade. He added that with his re-election, “Oramah is now poised to achieve the dream of having an integrated market for Africa.
“The re-election is a testament to the trust and confidence of shareholders of the bank in his leadership. Oramah had in the first term led the bank creditably. During this time, he disbursed about $30billion to boost businesses on the continent. I am therefore not surprised that the shareholders re-elected him.”