Afreximbank, Cote d’Ivoire sign agreement for industrial park development
The drive for Africa’s industrialisation received a major boost on Friday with the signing of the development agreement for Industrial Park PK 24 in Abidjan by the government of Cote d’Ivoire and the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank).
Afreximbank President Prof. Benedict Oramah signed the agreement on behalf of the institution while Souleymane Diarrassouba, Minister of Trade and Industry, and Moussa Sanogo, Minister to the Prime Minister, in charge of Budget and State Portfolio, signed for the government of Cote d’Ivoire.
In an address at the signing ceremony, Prof. Oramah said that Industrial Park PK-24, expected to cost $290 million and have capacity to host up to 60 tenant companies, would focus on the processing of key commodities, including cocoa, cashew nuts, fruits and vegetables, and on light manufacturing in pharmaceuticals, equipment assembly and home appliances, among others.
It would feature inside-the-fence infrastructure, such as roads, power, water, information and communication technology and waste management, manufacturing plants, warehouses, a logistics complex, offices, and commercial and residential buildings, continued the President.
According to him, the Industrial Park is expected to contribute to the industrialization objectives of the Ivorian Government by creating over one million jobs, increasing foreign exchange earnings by increasing value-addition and non-traditional exports, and increasing foreign direct investment by offering world-class facilities and infrastructure that will attract investment.
He announced that Afreximbank was mobilizing international companies to acquire and set up agro-processing and pharmaceutical factories and warehouses within the industrial park, saying that the interest from global companies had been significant.
The President said that Afreximbank wanted to create capacities that would help Africa to overcome the infrastructure deficits that, for long, has been the bane of its industrialisation by not only creating the capacity for value addition but by also attracting global manufacturing investments and ensuring improved and competitive access to African and global markets.
“We want to make sure that as African markets are opened for African goods under the African Continental Free Trade Area, Africa has goods to trade,” stated Prof. Oramah.
Mr. Diarrassouba urged Afreximbank to continue its drive to promote Africa’s industrialization by ensuring the speedy completion of the Abidjan Industrial Park PK-24.
He noted that the Bank was also collaborating with the government in other areas, including the establishment of agro parks.
Also on Friday, President Oramah held meetings with Amadou Gon Coulibaly, Prime Minister of Cote d’Ivoire, and with Abdouramane Cisse, Minister of Energy, Petroleum and Renewable Energy.
The Prime Minister told Prof. Oramah that the Cote d’Ivoire needed the continued commitment of Afreximbank in order to establish local industries.
He commended Prof. Oramah for his leadership of Afreximbank, which, he said, had helped to position the institution as a leading financial institution contributing to Africa’s industrialization and promoting intra-African trade.
In the meeting with Mr. Cisse, the leaders discussed how Afreximbank could intervene to strengthen the power sector in Cote d’Ivoire by providing financing for the installation and upgrading of the power grid and transmission network.