Dr. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank, making a point to during the Africa CEO Forum in Geneva, as Roberto Azevêdo, Director General, World Trade Organisation, looks on.
Dr. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank, making a point to during the Africa CEO Forum in Geneva, as Roberto Azevêdo, Director General, World Trade Organisation, looks on.

Geneva, 24 March 2017: –Africa should focus on developing labour-intensive industries and providing effective logistics and transport infrastructure from factories to ports in order  to become a globally competitive industrial player, Dr. Benedict Oramah, President of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), has said in Geneva.

Speaking during a panel discussion on “Will economic nationalism put Africa first?” at the 2017 Africa CEO Forum on Monday, Dr. Oramah said pointed to reports that showed that African industries were often more competitive than those in Asia at the factory level but noted that that advantage was lost once goods moved from the factory to the ports due to high logistics and transport costs.

He said that African governments should support the competitiveness of local industries by reducing the infrastructure gap while African enterprises should analyse global industrial value chains and set up activities in areas where they can deploy Africa’s competitive advantage which currently favoured labour-intensive industries.

Labour was competitive in Africa but was not a tradable asset, the President noted, adding, “at this stage, it might be better to import fabrics and transform them into garments or to produce and assemble other labour-intensive light-manufacturing goods rather than processing raw materials in a way that may not enable Africa to compete globally”.

He discouraged protectionism, saying that such an approach would not serve the interest of African economies as it could be an impediment to the creation of regional value chains and could play against the growth of local companies.

Other members of the panel were Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia; Moulay Hafid Elalamy, Minister of Industry and Trade of Morocco; Roberto Azevêdo, Director General of the World Trade Organisation; Aboubaker Omar Hadi, Chairman of Djibouti Ports and Free Zones Authority; and Issad Rebrab, Chairman of Cevital. Nicholas Norbrook, Managing Editor of The Africa Report, moderated the session.

The President also participated in a public-private sector working group on the industrialization of Africa, which included Mebrhatu Meles, State Minister of Industry of Ethiopia; Thierry Tanoh, Minister of Petrol and Energy of Côte d’Ivoire; Arancha Gonzalez, Director General of the International Trade Centre; Regis Immongault, Minister of Economy of Gabon; Pierre Guislain, Vice-President of the African Development Bank in charge of the Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialisation; and several CEOs and industrialists operating businesses in agro-processing, mining, manufacturing and other sectors in Africa.

On the sidelines of the forum, President Oramah held bilateral meetings with Emmanuel Issoze Ngondet, the Prime Minister of Gabon; Mr. Azevedo; Mr. Guislain; and several other business leaders operating within Africa.

Accompanying the President from Afreximbank were Rene Awambeng, Director of Client Relations; Richman Dzene, Special Assistant to the President; Sarah Siliya of the Client Relations Department; and Fleur Tchibota of the Communications Unit.

The two-day Africa CEO Forum 2017, was organized under the theme “Shaping the Future of Africa”.

Media Contact: Fleur Tchibota (ftchibota@afreximbank.com; Tel. +202-2456-4260)



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About Afreximbank:

The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is the foremost pan-African multilateral financial institution devoted to financing and promoting intra- and extra-African trade. The Bank was established in October 1993 by African governments, African private and institutional investors, and non-African investors. Its two basic constitutive documents are the Establishment Agreement, which gives it the status of an international organization, and the Charter, which governs its corporate structure and operations. Since 1994, it has approved more than $51 billion in credit facilities for African businesses, including about $10.3 billion in 2016. Afreximbank had total assets of $9.4 billion as at 30 April 2016 and is rated BBB+ (GCR), Baa1 (Moody’s), and BBB- (Fitch). The Bank is headquartered in Cairo. For more information, visit: www.afreximbank.com

  • Publishing Date : March 24, 2017

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