Afreximbank’s Presence In The Region Vital

Author: Julie Carrington/BGIS

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has suggested that the proposed establishment of an Africa Caribbean Export Import Bank in the region is critical to unlocking further economic and social benefits for the region at a time when such support is badly needed.

The Prime Minister made the assertion today as she delivered the keynote address during the opening ceremony of the Africa Caribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF) 2022, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, today.

Ms. Mottley and other Caribbean leaders signed the partnership agreement with President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Afrieximbank, Professor Benedict Oramah.

She told the in-person and virtual audience that the bank would be accorded the same privileges and immunities here like the Caribbean Development Bank when the decision is made to set up operations.

Ms. Mottley noted that Trinidad and Tobago had led the way with the Republic Bank operations in Ghana and disclosed there were other dominant banks on the continent willing to set up in the region at a time when the decades’ dominance of Canadian banks in the Caribbean was shrinking.      

“The ability for us to be able to have a Caribbean Export Import Bank with our partners in the Africa Export Import Bank is too critical a possibility for us in this region, and for unlocking further the benefits of the Caribbean Single Market and Single Economy, for us to ignore at this stage,” she stated.

Ms. Mottley insisted that although our peoples have worked together for more than a century in the various Pan-African congresses, the political union political cooperation, though essential were not sufficient “for the journey that must be made to reverse the underdevelopment of Africa and the underdevelopment of the Caribbean”.

“We the children of Independence, have determined that we shall not allow another generation to pass without bringing together that which should never have been torn asunder.  We face common battles from the climate crisis to the COVID pandemic. And, now to the third aspect of it, with respect to inflation and debt, that threaten to tear too many of our countries apart and threaten to put back into poverty too many of our people. 

“In Africa, one in every two people in rural communities and one in every 10 in urban communities are recorded as being poor. But in the Caribbean, recent statistics show that numbers have gone from one in six and one in five to as high, in some countries, to one in three because of the food insecurity and because of the disruption of the last few years. Ms. Mottley underlined.

Given this situation, the Prime Minster called on leaders to seize the moment to reclaim their destiny.  She said: “…I come here today to ask us to seize the moment…It is within our grasp… We have the collective brainpower, the collective creativity, the innate discipline and resilience and above all else, yes, the capital between Africa and the Caribbean to make that defining difference.  We have begun to understand that when we know each other, business becomes that much easier.”

Ms. Mottley also touched on the need for airlift between the two nations to boost tourism and business and cut out the transit between North America and the United Kingdom which, she said, in some instances can result in more than 20 hour delays as opposed to a direct six-hour flight.

“I have spoken to enough people in the last three years to know that this is now an act of political will and individual will.   Going where no one has gone before is never easy and that’s the first thing we must tell ourselves, it’s not easy. But you can’t have Burna Boy bring out 20,000 People in Barbados, command what he commands in Nigeria and Africa; our dear very own and the Right Excellent Rihanna, the same, and not believe that we can’t open up the appetite of our people to travel to each other’s countries,” the Prime Minister stressed.

Ms. Mottley also called for data sharing on the import and export of commodities between Africa and the region adding that “we have business to do”.

She also publicly thanked the Afreximbank for assisting the region by supplying over US $3 million in vaccines during the COVID-19 outbreak.  

The conference ends Saturday, September 3.


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