Sal Island, Cape Verde, 07 November 2017: – Prime Minister Jose Correia e Silva of Cape Verde in Sal, Cape Verde, opened the Advanced Structured Trade Finance Seminar and Workshops organized by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), saying that the country was determined to become an international trade hub.
“Cape Verde intends to be an international market,” the Prime Minister told Seminar participants on Monday. “We have developed a specific agenda to achieve that objective.”
He stated that, in order to address the challenge of inadequate transportation lines among African countries, Cape Verde had initiated a plan to connect Africa and the rest of the world, using Cape Verde as a hub. That plan involved the inauguration of flights to Lagos and Accra next month and to Abidjan, Dakar and many other African cities thereafter, in order to increase intra-African trade.
Earlier, Dr. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank, said that the structured trade finance training was meant to equip participants with the skills to structure bankable trade and supply chain finance deals of varying levels of complexity and to prepare them as agents for driving intra-African trade and structural transformation of the continent. It was also intended to bring to the fore the rapid changes affecting trade financing and what they might mean for the way deals were originated and structured.
Dr. Oramah said that there was growing realisation of the urgent need for Africa to become more integrated, trade more with itself and create the necessary environment to drive intra-regional investments as a means to accelerating development. Intra-African trade could only expand if Africa produced more diversified products and risks associated with financing of such trade could be adequately mitigated, he said.
“The role of financing in all of these cannot be overemphasized,” said the President. “Due to novelty of regional markets, there is the need to create instruments that will mitigate payment risks, including country risks, for traders.”
“Bankers doing business in Africa have to be adaptive and responsive to the needs of the continent and the evolving operating environment,” he said.
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”.
He commended the Government of Cape Verde for the bold actions it was taking to achieve economic transformation, including effort to make the island of Cape Verde a major hub for aviation and the implementation of financial sector reforms which could make the country an important financial centre, and pledged Afreximbank’s readiness to be Cape Verde’s trusted ally.
Also speaking, Olavo Correia, Finance Minister of Cape Verde, said that it was critically important to use the Structured Trade Finance seminar to strengthen the link between the financing of trade and fostering of intra African trade.
The seminar and workshops, the 17th in the series, is being 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 1,600 African trade finance professionals have taken part in the seminars and workshops since they were introduced. This year’s event will end on 9 November.