The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) says it is providing a grant of $1 billion to African countries to support the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement (AfCFTA).
President Muhammadu Buhari signed the agreement on Sunday at the AU summit that held in Niamey.
Benedict Oramah (pictured), the president of the bank, made this announcement in an interaction with heads of states saying the grant will help countries adjust to the sudden tariff revenue loss as a result of the implementation of the agreement.
Oramah said the bank will also provide aid for the work being done by the African Regional Standards Organisation and the AU in implementing the agreement.
He also informed participants of the 12th extraordinary summit of African Union (AU) of the launch of the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS), explaining that it is the first continent-wide payment digital system focused on facilitating payments for goods and services in intra-African trade in African currencies.
“We launched the Africa-wide digital payment infrastructure, PAPSS, which was developed in collaboration with the African Union,” a statement released on Monday by Obi Emekekwue, the bank’s spokesman, quoted him to have said.
“It is a platform that will domesticate intra-regional payments, save the continent more than 5 billion dollars 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.
“Our goal is to reduce, significantly, the foreign currency content of intra-African trade payments.
“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.”
Oramah said that making it possible for Africans to pay for intra-regional trade in their local currencies will aid in the development of African economies.