Introduction to Afreximbank
Afreximbank, officially known as the African Export-Import Bank, is a pan-African multilateral financial institution created in 1993 to finance and promote intra-African and extra-African trade. Headquartered in Cairo, Egypt, Afreximbank plays a critical role in supporting trade across the African continent.
Some key facts about Afreximbank:
- Founded: 1993
- Headquarters: Cairo, Egypt
- Key People: President – Benedict Okey Oramah
- Total Assets (2022): $31.1 billion
- Member Countries: 50 African member countries
- Mission: Stimulate expansion and diversification of African trade
Afreximbank provides three main services:
- Credit – Trade finance and project finance
- Risk Bearing – Guarantees and credit insurance
- Trade Information and Advisory Services
Afreximbank has a unique mandate to promote and finance intra-African trade, taking on risks that commercial banks normally avoid. With this special role, Afreximbank supports critical aspects of African economic development and integration.
The bank has seen steady growth since starting operations in 1994 with just $6.5 million in deals. By 2021, Afreximbank had disbursed over $50 billion in financing. Recent initiatives include:
- Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS)
- MANSA KYC platform
- African Medical Centre of Excellence (AMCE)
- Intra-African Trade Fair
Afreximbank continues to expand financing and de-risking tools to unlock more African trade opportunities.
History and Background of Afreximbank
Founding and Early Years
Afreximbank was founded in 1993 under the auspices of the African Development Bank to function as an African Export-Import Bank. The Agreement establishing Afreximbank was adopted in May 1993 and the Charter was signed in October 1993 at the first General Meeting of Shareholders in Abuja, Nigeria.
The first President was Christopher Edordu who served from 1993 to 2005. Some key events:
- 1994 – Officially launched operations
- 1994 – First deal: $6.5 million syndicated loan to Ghana Cocoa Board
- 1996 – Opened first branch in Harare, Zimbabwe
- 2003 – Opened second branch in Abuja, Nigeria
As of 2018, Afreximbank had the following shareholder structure across 4 categories:
|African governments, institutions, economic zones
|Nigeria, Egypt, Zambia Central Banks
|African private investors, national institutions
|Banks, companies, investors
|International institutions, non-African investors
|IFC, private US/EU banks
|Open to any investor, African or non-African
This allows for diverse shareholding while maintaining African control.
The highest authority is the General Meeting of Shareholders. Through share classes, they elect the Board of Directors and appoint the President.
The Board oversees general business conduct and delegates day-to-day operations to the President. The current President is Benedict Okey Oramah, serving his second 5-year term starting in 2020.
Afreximbank has seen tremendous growth in the past decade:
- Assets rose from $5 billion in 2011 to over $31 billion in 2022
- $50+ billion disbursed 2016-2021 to support African economies
- Additional $50 billion in 2020-2022 to address COVID impact
This positions Afreximbank as a major force in African trade and development finance.
Mission, Objectives and Key Activities of Afreximbank
The mission of Afreximbank is:
“To stimulate a consistent expansion, diversification and development of African trade while operating as a first-class, profit-oriented, socially responsible financial institution and a center of excellence in African trade matters.”
Afreximbank pursues the following key objectives:
- Finance and promote intra-African and extra-African trade
- Provide export credit and financing to African exporters
- Finance imports of equipment and raw materials for African exporters
- Promote export of non-traditional African goods and services
- Provide guarantees and insurance against commercial and political risks
- Develop acceptance and trade finance markets in Africa
Afreximbank engages in three core activity areas:
- Trade finance
- Project finance
- Syndicated loans
- Direct financing programs
- Export credit guarantees
- Credit insurance
- Special risk programs
Trade Information and Advisory
- Research reports
- Trade information systems
- Advisory services
- Seminars and workshops
Some major Afreximbank programs include:
- Line of Credit Program
- Note Purchase Program
- Future Flow Pre-Financing
- Trade Finance Facilitation Program
- Intra-African Trade Initiative
- Counter-Cyclical Trade Liquidity Facility
Afreximbank customizes solutions based on client needs across industry sectors and countries. Its programs promote intra-regional trade and accelerate African industrialization.
Recent Developments and Initiatives
Afreximbank has launched several major initiatives in recent years to expand trade finance in Africa:
Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS)
- Joint initiative with African Union launched in 2022
- Real-time cross-border payment system in African currencies
- Facilitates payments for intra-African trade
- Partnership with African Development Bank and central banks
- Know Your Customer (KYC) repository for African entities
- Enables due diligence by global institutions
African Medical Centre of Excellence (AMCE)
- Flagship medical complex under construction in Abuja, Nigeria
- Will provide world-class healthcare services to Africans
- Funded by $300 million from Afreximbank
Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF)
- Hosted jointly with African Union Commission and Egypt
- Major business exhibition and conference promoting intra-African trade
- Third edition held in 2021 in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire
Africa Quality Assurance Centre (AQAC)
- First center launched in Nigeria in 2022
- Ensures quality control and standardization for African exports
- Certifies agricultural produce meets global standards
General Capital Increase
- Approved capital increase from $5 billion to $12 billion in 2021
- Supported by $2.6 billion new paid-in capital
- Expands lending capacity
These initiatives help position Afreximbank at the forefront of promoting intra-African trade and economic development.
In 30 years since its founding, Afreximbank has become a leading force in African trade and project finance. Some key takeaways:
- Critical role in intra-African trade – Afreximbank fills vital trade financing gaps and integrates African markets.
- Supports industrialization and export development – Initiatives like the Quality Assurance Centers boost competitiveness of African exports.
- Risk mitigation for African transactions – Guarantees and insurance expand access to finance.
- Countering economic shocks – Counter-cyclical facilities helped African nations weather crises like COVID-19.
- World-class African institutions – Flagship projects like the African Medical Centre promote African excellence.
- Innovative programs and partnerships – PAPSS, MANSA, IATF and other platforms spur African development.
- Robust capital base – Capital increase to $12 billion enhances capacity.
Moving forward, Afreximbank is well positioned to accelerate progress towards the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and aid regional integration. With its unique mandate and growing resources, Afreximbank will continue helping unlock the abundant promise of intra-African trade.
Key Figures for Afreximbank
Data source: Afreximbank annual reports
With its outsized impact on African trade and development, Afreximbank serves as a model for the continent to develop its own world-class institutions.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Afreximbank?
Afreximbank is a pan-African export-import bank that was founded in 1993 to finance and promote intra-African and extra-African trade. Its headquarters is in Cairo, Egypt.
What are Afreximbank’s main activities?
Afreximbank provides trade finance, project finance, credit guarantees, credit insurance, and advisory services to support African trade. It specializes in trade finance solutions.
How is Afreximbank governed?
Afreximbank is governed by a Board of Directors elected by shareholders. The day-to-day operations are managed by the President, currently Dr. Benedict Oramah.
Who are the shareholders of Afreximbank?
The shareholders are divided into four categories: Class A are African states, Class B are African private investors, Class C are non-African institutions, and Class D are open to any investor.
What are some key Afreximbank initiatives?
Some major initiatives are the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS), MANSA KYC platform, African Medical Centre of Excellence (AMCE), Intra-African Trade Fair, and the Africa Quality Assurance Centres.