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Chuks Udo Okonta
His Excellency President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, this morning officially opened the 29th Afreximbank Annual Meetings 2022 (AAM2022) in Cairo, Egypt. Co-hosted by African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), the meetings have assembled more than 1,500 delegates, leaders and experts in policy, economic and financial sectors from Africa and around the world.
Convened to discuss the theme ‘Realising the AfCFTA Potential in the Post Covid-19 Era – Leveraging the Power of the Youth’, the meetings focus on key trends affecting the African continent as it forges ahead with implementing the AfCFTA in a changing demographic that is grappling with post pandemic stagflation.
In his address, H.E. President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi emphasized the extensive work required to realise the goals of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and called on African governments to pursue greater integration with their fellow African countries.
He said, “If we would like to change the face of the African continent and make it a continent that is able to achieve the hopes of its people and youth, we need to develop the infrastructure to get us there. The first challenge of the African continent is to achieve continental infrastructure initiatives. This is the dream of the people especially in the highly populated countries and the hope of the youth. Huge investment is needed to achieve the goals and ambitions of an integrated Africa.”
In his remarks Prof. Benedict Okechukwu Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank, acknowledged the Egyptian President’s outstanding achievements and commitment to Africa’s progress:
“We thank His Excellency, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and his able Government, for hoisting the African flag high. Your Excellency, the successes you have achieved in Egypt as well as during your tenure as the Chairperson of the Africa Union in 2019, prove to us that with focus, determination, and unity, we can turn the enormous potential that abounds in Africa into a powerful force for change. At Afreximbank, we share your “Commitment to Africa”. We put Africa first in everything we do.”
Prof. Oramah also stressed the need for African institutions to do more to strengthen and unify economic development on the continent.
He said, “Afreximbank has become a vital instrument for crisis intervention in Africa. The success of the Bank’s interventions reminds us of the urgency not only to support our own institutions but to make them stronger and more effective. Despite limited resources, Afreximbank has made a significant impact in helping Africa to contain the pandemic. A stronger Afreximbank and, indeed a stronger group of African Development Finance Institutions, can be one of the solid pillars on which Africa’s development can be built.”
He concluded that, “Afreximbank is a firm believer that Africa can only begin to resolve issues affecting Africa’s trade through aggressive pursuit of intra-African trade promotion and implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).”
Meetings scheduled during the AAM2022 will aim to explore:
How to invest in human capital to successfully manage the intersection of the AfCFTA, the youth, trade and economic development.
How to leverage the power of the youth to unlock the single market’s full potential.
How to support youth-driven SMEs, digital entrepreneurs, creatives and industrialists in the AfCFTA context.
Dignitaries present at the official opening of the AAM2022 included the Honourable Prime Minister of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Mostafa Madbouly, the Former Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, H.E. Namadi Sambo, His Excellency Mr Tarek Amer, Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt and the Chair of the Afreximbank General Meeting, Her Excellency Dr Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, His Excellency Mr Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General of the AfCFTA Secretariat and His Excellency Albert Muchanga, AU Commissioner for Economic Development, Trade, Industry and Mining.