Africa should create an environment that promotes trade and investment in order to enable its economies can grow, Olavo Correia, Minister of Finance of Cape Verde, said on Thursday at the end of the Advanced Structured Trade Finance Seminar and Workshops organized by the African Export-import Bank (Afreximbank).
“Our continent needs to grow in order fight the problems we have, such as poverty, and we must speed up the transformation if we want to see results,” said Mr. Correia in an address at the closing ceremony. “There is no economic growth without trade and we must work to provide a political, economic and social environment in order to reinforce regional exchanges.”
Highlighting the importance of intra-African trade, he said that Cape Verde was already working to solve the challenge posed by transportation, which was one of the key barriers to effective regional trade.
Cape Verde was developing increased maritime and air links and was aiming to become a major transport hub serving the African continent by developing excellent links to Africa, Europe, North America and South America, the Finance Minister said.
That development would not be possible without the help of Afreximbank, which has opened new lines of credit, helped with pre-financing and was providing other tools to Cape Verde, he said.
Mr. Correia called for increased support for Afreximbank, saying, “The organisation which helps us needs our support so it can be of service to the whole African continent.”
Also speaking, Amr Kamel, Executive Vice President, Business Development and Corporate Banking, Afreximbank, commended Cape Verde for hosting the Advanced Structured Trade Finance Seminar and Workshops and enjoined the participants to put into practice what they had learnt when they returned to their stations.
Several speakers from Africa, Europe and Asia highlighted Africa’s potential and said that that potential could be realized through increased intra-African trade and diversification away from commodities.
Earlier in the week, Afreximbank President Dr. Benedict Oramah had said that “Bankers doing business in Africa have to be adaptive and responsive to the needs of the continent and to the evolving operating environment.”
Referring to the role of technology in supply chain finance, he stated that block chain technology, artificial intelligence and the spread of mobile payments had implications on the skills, technology and regulatory framework that would govern trade financing into the future. African bankers and banks should, therefore, be prepared for the rapidly changing business environment.
Dr Oramah identified data as an emerging new commodity class and argued that the “entity that controls data is the entity that controls the world”.
Days 3 and 4 of the event featured workshops on forfaiting and factoring, with discussions on instruments, such as reverse factoring, and on mechanisms like financial intermediaries, which could promote and support the growth of small and medium enterprises across Africa.
The event, the 17th in the annual series, was attended by more than 200 high-profile participants, including chief executive officers, managing directors and senior managers representing banks, other financial institutions, and entities involved in promoting trade. About 1,800 finance professionals have taken part in the seminars and workshops since they were introduced.