By Jacinta Nwachukwu
Abuja – The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), says it has approved a 400-million dollars revolving global credit facility agreement for the Export Trading Group (ETG).
The Group is one of the largest and fastest-growing integrated agricultural conglomerates in Africa.
Mr Kanayo Awani, the Managing Director of Afreximbank’s Intra-African Trade Initiative, disclosed this in a statement issued on Wednesday in Abuja.
Awani said that the three-year revolving global credit facility would strengthen African agricultural networks and bolster the continent’s food security.
He said that the agreement would also enable the Group to keep playing its vital role in the agri-foods supply chain of efficiently connecting African farmers to markets.
“It will also expand access to key inputs to boost agricultural productivity in a continent with tremendous but yet unrealised potential.”
According to Afreximbank’s estimates, Africa spent more than 90 billion dollars on food imports in 2019, even though it possesses up to 60 per cent of the world’s remaining arable land.
“Moreover, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates that up to 50 per cent of Africa’s agricultural production is lost every year from farm-to-market.
“This is due to problems ranging from sub-optimal use of inputs to improper post-harvest storage, processing and transportation facilities.”
Awani said that these challenges had been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which had disrupted supply chains, heightened price volatility and could further undermine household consumption.
He noted that the facility provided by Afreximbank would address key bottlenecks faced by African agricultural exporters, aggregating large values of produce in order to give small and medium-scale enterprises access to regional and international markets.
According to him, expanding the group’s work in this area will reduce post-harvest losses through better access to yield-enhancing inputs and more robust networks to get output to regional and international markets.
“while helping boost the scale and productivity of African farmers to position Africa as the world’s bread basket.
“It will also support the vital flow of food supplies across the continent amid the disruption triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“ETG is focused on uplifting farming communities by connecting smallholder farmers with international markets, expanding mechanisation and processing capabilities.
“It will also increase knowledge around quality inputs, irrigation, post-harvest techniques and yield-enhancing practices,” Awani added.
According to him, Afreximbank remains committed to supporting African nations navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, at the same time focusing on boosting agricultural productivity and accelerating the diversification of exports to strengthen the resilience of African economies.
“This facility will not only support African farmers through the disruption caused by the pandemic but will provide added impetus to ETG’s vital work connecting the continent’s small and medium businesses to the agricultural networks and avenues critical for growth”.
He said that with the African Continental Free Trade Agreement on the horizon, the timing was right to shape a more productive and resilient agricultural sector—delivering both prosperity and food security for the continent’s future.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), is a Pan-African multilateral financial institution with the mandate of financing and promoting intra-and extra-African trade.