Afreximbank officially marked the opening of its Caribbean office in Barbados on August 4, 2023, with the aim of fostering trade and investment connections between Africa and the Caribbean region.
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM), composed of 20 nations including 15 member states and five associate members, is home to approximately 16 million people, with 60 percent of its population under the age of 30. The ethnic diversity of CARICOM encompasses Indigenous Peoples, Africans, Indians, Europeans, Chinese, Portuguese, and Japanese.
Afreximbank has reinforced its commitment to support eligible CARICOM States by reaffirming a US$1.5 billion credit limit, with plans to elevate it to $3 billion.
The establishment of the Afreximbank Caribbean office aligns with the partnership agreement between Afreximbank and CARICOM member states, which is focused on expanding trade and investment ties between Africa and the Caribbean. This move further solidifies Afreximbank’s efforts to promote trade and economic growth, in alignment with its Diaspora strategy and the African Union’s recognition of the African Diaspora as the continent’s sixth region.
Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors, emphasised the strategic significance of the Afreximbank Caribbean office, highlighting its role in facilitating the Bank’s operations within the Caribbean Community. The office will bridge the gap between Afreximbank’s offerings and the local business community, enabling the Bank to expedite its initiatives and strengthen its relationships with regional governments to address mutually identified priorities.
Oramah emphasised the positive implications of the Caribbean Office launch, envisioning smoother trade implementation, greater business origination across CARICOM member states, and enhanced results from their partnership. He also anticipates the integration of Afreximbank subsidiaries, such as the Fund for Export Development in Africa (FEDA), PAPSS, and AfrexInsure, into the CARICOM region’s financial landscape.
Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados, praised Africa’s unwavering support for the Caribbean community, notably citing assistance through the African Medical Supplies Platform during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mottley welcomed the establishment of the Afreximbank Caribbean office, reflecting on the promises made by the Bank during the inaugural AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum held in Barbados in 2022.
She emphasized that the Caribbean office is not only a historic milestone but also a pragmatic step forward, benefitting the regional private sector and state-owned corporations by offering access to a more empathetic and risk-embracing banking institution.
In December 2022, Afreximbank’s Board of Directors approved a funding commitment of US$1.5 billion to empower CARICOM member states that had ratified the partnership agreement with Afreximbank to access the Bank’s diverse financial instruments. By July 2023, 11 out of the 15 CARICOM member states had endorsed the partnership.
The funding is targeted to support key economic sectors, bolster trade-enabling infrastructure, enhance trade and investments between Africa and CARICOM states, and provide assistance to small and medium enterprises. Afreximbank has also pledged to elevate the credit limit to US$3 billion.
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