The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) plans to facilitate the implementation of the agreement on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) with $1 billion.
Nigeria and other African countries will enjoy the grant, which was announced by the bank’s president at the African Heads of State at the 12th Extraordinary Summit of African Union (AU).
President Muhammadu Buhari signed Nigeria’s acceptance of the free trade deal at the recent AU Summit in Niamey, Niger Republic.
In a statement issued by Afreximbank’s spokesman, Mr. Obi Emekekwue, the president of the bank, Mr. Benedict Oramah, told the African leaders that the facility was to enable the countries adjust to sudden significant tariff revenue losses as a result of the implementation of the agreement.
Oramah said that the bank would also provide assistance for the work being done by the African Regional Standards Organisation and the AU in implementing the pact.
He also informed the summit of the launch of the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS), which he described as the first continent-wide payment digital system focused on facilitating payments for goods and services in intra-African trade in African currencies.
Oramah said: “We launched the Africa-wide digital payment infrastructure, PAPSS, which was developed in collaboration with the African Union. It is a platform that will domesticate intra-regional payments, save the continent more than $5 billion in payment transaction costs per annum.
“It will also help to formalise a significant proportion of the estimated $50 billion of informal intra-African trade, and above all, contribute to boosting intra-African trade,” he said.
Oramah added that making it possible for Africans to pay for intra-regional trade in their local currencies would aid the development of African economies.
“Our goal is to reduce, significantly, the foreign currency content of intra-African trade payments. No people have achieved meaningful development when their economic progress depends on others.
“In trying to boost trade and investment, it is imperative that we address the economic costs of effecting so many payments in scarce foreign exchange.
“Making cross-border payments easier, cheaper and safer is an obvious critical step in creating an Africa we want,” he said.