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Afreximbank urges youth to take the lead in continental trade

Pan-African multilateral finance institution, the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is calling for an increase in intra-African trade and financing on the back of the continent’s youth and technology resources.

Speaking during the 29th Annual Meetings of Afreximbank on June 15 in Cairo, Prof. Benedict Okechukwu Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors, made a strong case for increasing intra-African trade, providing insight into the challenges restricting trade and providing clear solutions as to how the continent can resolve them.

The professor’s suggestions come at a time when Africa is well positioned to become a highly competitive trade hub. In January 2021, the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) was implemented, ushering in a new era of simplified trade in Africa.

A year on, the continent has been slow to unlock the full potential of this agreement, leading to an accelerated push by the Afreximbank to promote intra-African trade and finance in Africa.

“While the problem was identified decades ago, it is only now that Africa can boast of possessing a combination of factors that can resolve it. These consist of visionary and committed leadership, the youth, and digital technology.

“Our leadership has done the courageous work of giving us the AfCFTA. A lot now hinges on our youth. It is for this reason that Afreximbank dedicated this year’s Annual Meeting to the theme, “Realizing the AfCFTA Potential in the Post-COVID-19 Era: Leveraging the Power of The Youth,” Prof. Oramah alluded in this opening remarks.

Africa’s youth represent the key to accelerating strong and sustainable economic growth. Representing one of the youngest and fastest growing populations worldwide, the continent has all the ingredients to create highly attractive domestic markets on the back of improved intra-African trade and commerce.

As Prof. Oramah stated, “It is our view that the youth will be the catalytic force to the realization of the continental agenda. Indeed, the youth have always been the catalyst to economic transformations and at the base of every industrial revolution in advanced economies.”

“It is no coincidence that at the height of each Industrial Revolution, youth constituted the largest proportion of the labor force and population,” he said.

Therefore, by focusing on capacity building, skills transfer and the upliftment of the domestic workforce, while at the same time injecting capital into small-medium enterprises and African startups, the continent will see intra-African trade expanded and market growth realized.

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