By Racheal Ishaya
The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) says it will allocate 500 million dollars from its Nigeria-Africa Trade and Investment Promotion Fund to support Nigerian manufacturers.
According to a statement by the bank on Thursday, the Afreximbank President, Prof. Benedict Oramah made this known at the 47th Annual General Meeting of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN).
Oramah said that the facility would enable manufacturers to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) agreement.
He said that the opportunity for African manufacturers under the AfCFTA was phenomenal and that intra-regional trade in the manufacturing sector could rise to more than 150 billion dollars by 2022.
“The coming into force of the AfCFTA opens the wider African market to Nigerian manufacturers, creating a market of 1.2 billion people and a combined GDP of about 2.5 trillion dollars.
“By 2022, the AfCFTA is expected to bring the share of intra-African trade from current levels of about 16 per cent to 22 per cent, bringing total intra-African trade to about 250 billion dollars, from about 160 billion dollars.
“The preferences that the AfCFTA offers can make Nigerian manufactured goods more competitive in many African markets and can also make it possible to achieve integration into regional and global supply chains,” he said.
Oramah recommended that Nigeria should prioritise labour-intensive light manufacturing in its industrial policy in order to enable manufacturers and others to begin to appreciate that the country’s most abundant resource was its labour.
He said also that private sector-promoted heavy industries should be supported under a special arrangement that targets the production of critical industrial raw materials, such as petrochemicals, machine tools, cement and steel.
He informed the audience about the various facilities that Afreximbank had available for African manufacturers under its Industrialisation, Export Development and Intra-African Trade strategies.
He said this included the Export Development Programme which was available for export manufacturers, the Intra-African Investment Financing Facility which supports cross-border investments in Africa.
He also mentioned the Intra-African Investment Guarantee Facility, a series of facilities under the Trade Financing Programme, the Franchise Financing Facility and the Guarantee Programme covering an array of scenarios.(NAN)