Afreximbank pledges financial and advisory support for Sao Tomé’s blue economy
The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is committed to providing financial and advisory support to assist Sao Tomé and Principe achieve its structural transformation which focuses on expanding and diversifying its blue economy, Dr. Benedict Oramah, President of the Bank, has said.
Speaking in Sao Tomé and Príncipe on Monday during a visit to Patrice Trovoada, Prime Minister of the country, Dr. Oramah said that Sao Tomé and Príncipe’s vision and regional perspective to development were in line with Afreximbank’s Intra-African Trade Strategy and its drive for value-added export from Africa.
“Sao Tomé has decided to focus its efforts on the diversification of its services and logistics sector while leveraging on its large maritime territory to grow its fish and port industries,” he noted. “The country has, therefore, taken a well-thought-out and targeted developmental approach, based on the logistics demands and trade exchange needs of neighbouring countries, aimed at positioning it as a strategic hub and stop-over for trade in the Gulf of Guinea region.”
The President said that the Bank had made significant contributions to the economic development of other island countries that were its members, noting that the Eden Island project, which it helped create and finance in Seychelles, was currently contributing more than 20 per cent of the Seychellois GDP.
The Bank had also helped construct leading hotels in Cape Verde and elsewhere to cater for growing high-end leisure and corporate tourism needs, he added.
Dr. Oramah urged Sao Tomé and Príncipe to move quickly to conclude ratification of the Agreement Establishing the Bank, which it had already acceded to, and said that the Bank would analyse the country’s trade finance needs and planned logistics projects to identify those that it could support, either through advisory services or with the deployment of trade finance programmes and facilities.
Earlier, Mr. Trovoada said that Sao Tomé and Príncipe’s decision in June 2016 to join Afreximbank was based on its strong belief that solutions to Africa’s development lay within the continent.
He said that the country’s strategic intent was to capture the economic opportunities of the regional value chains by providing logistics services that would facilitate trade flows.
“Our top priorities for the next few years consist of the extension and upgrade of Sao Tomé and Principe’s airport and seaport facilities; the construction of fish processing infrastructure and logistics facilities linked to them; and the expansion of the island’s tourism capacity,” said the Prime Minister. That would bring about structural change and sustainable economic development for the benefit of all Sao Tomeans.
The Afreximbank President also met with Américo d’Oliveira Ramos, Minister of Finance, Trade and Blue Economy of Sao Tome and Principe, and with representatives of the local banking community, the public sector and the private sector.
The Afreximbank delegation also included Rene Awambeng, Director of Client Relations; Yacouba Coulibaly, Senior Manager, Legal Services; Richman Dzene, Special Assistant to the President; Uju Okafor of the Client Services Department; and Fleur Tchibota of the Communications Unit.