The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) will allocate $500 million from its Nigeria-Africa Trade and Investment Promotion Programme to support Nigerian manufacturers to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) agreement, Bank President Prof. Benedict Oramah, has said in Lagos.
Prof. Oramah, who was the Guest Speaker at the Annual Lecture and Presidential Luncheon organised on Tuesday as part of the 47th Annual General Meeting of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), said that the facility would support Nigerian manufacturers to expand trading in their products into, and to source raw materials from, other African countries.
It would also support them to adjust to any difficulties that might arise due to the implementation of the AfCFTA agreement, he continued, adding that Afreximbank officials would meet with representatives of MAN to work out the implementation modalities, terms and conditions for the facility.
Oramah said that the opportunity for African manufacturers under the AfCFTA was phenomenal and that intra-regional trade in manufactures could rise to more than $150 billion by 2022 as a result of the entry into force of the agreement.
By 2022, the AfCFTA was 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, he added.
Also speaking, President of MAN, Ahmed Mansur, said that the manufacturing sector in Nigeria continued to face daunting challenges associated with deeply eroded infrastructure, poor condition of highways and waterways, absence of a good rail network and other impediments which rendered manufacturing uncompetitive.
He commended the federal government for its effort to address the challenges and encouraged it to tackle critical issues to ensure that the manufacturing sector was positioned to participate effectively in the AfCFTA.
Also addressing the session was Minister of Trade and Industry of Nigeria, Adeniyi Adebayo, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari.
Afreximbank also took advantage of the MAN Annual General Meeting to hold a roadshow, showcasing its various products, programmes and facilities to the participants.