The plan to establish an African Sub-Sovereign governments network received a boost with the pledge by the African Export-Import Bank (AFREXIMBANK) to commit about $250 million as seed capital for the initiative.
The President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of AFREXIMBANK, Benedict Oramah, announced the support on Friday during an inaugural conference of the Sub Sovereign Governments in Durban, on the sidelines of the second Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF 2021).
The Sub Sovereign Governments Network is another strategic initiative by the Bank, aimed at establishing an intra-continental trade investment development frontier.
While appreciating the political rationale behind the creation of devolved government systems in most African countries, Oramah said only through supporting and strengthening trade and investment initiatives at such deeper levels of citizen administration, would Africa be able to fully realize the potential value of its much-vaunted 1.3 billion population as a captivating common market for goods and services.
“African Sub-Sovereign Governments have not had a platform to converge to share and explore their experiences, challenges and opportunities, unlike their Unitary Governments and the Private Sector,” Oramah said.
The seed capital committed by the Bank, he said, would go towards supporting technical assistance, trade upgrade, provision of trade intelligence solutions and sponsorship of studies for exploitation of available opportunities among others, as the continent solidifies its mechanisms towards achieving its 2063 Agenda – the Africa We Want.
The conference was attended by the host KZN Premier H.E who received accolades from Prof.
The Premier of KwaZulu Natal Province, Sihle Zikalala, commended Oramah on his role in setting in motion the Sub-Sovereign Governments Network idea, saying AfreximBank has played an exemplary role in supporting projects that seek to grow the slice of the African economy, while also building vital bridges among the Continent’s Nations and sub sovereigns.
“Indeed, there are many lessons that other financing institutions can learn from AFREXIMBANK, on how to deploy innovative structures to deliver financing solutions that support the transformation of the structure of Africa’s trade, thereby accelerating industrialization and intra-regional trade.”
Through this Network, he said the Bank envisages a vehicle for the promotion of intracontinental trade and investment, as it would provide a platform that would ensure broad and inclusive participation of companies, particularly those located outside the traditional capital cities, in the African Continental Free Trade Area –AfCFTA.
Due to the decentralization of access to information, the Network would serve as a channel for sharing of ideas, knowledge and skills, greater grassroots interconnections and involvement, as well as become a conduit for AFREXIMBANK to deepen its interventions in various communities within its member countries.
In a joint communique at the end of the conference, the delegates agreed that membership of the network would be based on the duly recognized sub-sovereigns, namely Provinces, Governorates and Counties as defined by individual country constitutions.
An interim Secretariat to coordinate activities of the Network was formed with its membership drawn from KwaZulu Natal Province of South Africa, the Cairo Governate of Egypt, the Kaduna State of Nigeria and the Kitui County of Kenya. The interim Secretariat will serve until a substantive one will have been constituted in due course.
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