On Tuesday, 21st of November 2017, the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) announced that the East African country of Eritrea has joined the membership of the bank. This makes Eritrea the 48th African country to become a participating state or a shareholder in the continental multilateral trade finance institution.

In the instrument of accession, signed on Monday by Berhane Habtemariam, the Minister of Finance, and delivered to Afreximbank by the ministry, Eritrea declared its acceptance and accession to the “Agreement for the Establishment of the Bank” and committed to taking all necessary steps for the ratification of that Agreement.

Eritrea’s membership of Afreximbank comes in the wake of a recent visit to Asmara by a delegation led by bank president Dr. Benedict Oramah during which Eritrean president Isaias Afwerki expressed Eritrea’s willingness to join Afreximbank as a Member State.

During the meeting on Friday, President Afwerki said that Eritrea would aim to be an effective contributor in Afreximbank in order to encourage and ensure the creation of the environment for the delivery of the services for which the bank was created.

The membership also follows the recent acquisition of shares in the bank by South Africa, which has named the Export Credit Insurance Corporation of South Africa as its designated investor.

Under the terms of the agreement for the establishment of the bank, which was signed by participating states in Abidjan on May 8, 1993, countries that did not sign on before it entered into force are required to first issue an instrument of acceptance and accession and then proceed to formally ratify the agreement in order to fully activate their membership of the bank.

Membership of the bank gives Eritrea automatic access to the full range of products and facilities offered by Afreximbank, including trade finance facilities, project finance services, trade information and advisory services, support in the development of a local content policy and assistance in developing and implementing industrial parks and special economic zones.

What you didn’t know about Afrexim Bank

  • Afrexim Bank is the foremost Pan-African multilateral financial institution devoted to financing and promoting African trade.
  • It was established under two basic constitutive instruments which are the agreement signed by the member states and multilateral organisations, which gives the bank the status of an international multilateral organization and the Charter, which governs its corporate structure and operations.
  • The bank was established in October 1993 by African governments, African private and institutional investors, and non-African investors.
  • Afrexim Bank commenced operations on 30 September 1994, following the signature of a headquarters agreement with the host government in August 1994.
  • Since 1994, it has approved more than 51 billion dollars in credit facilities for African businesses, including about 10.3 billion dollars in 2016.
  • Afreximbank has total assets of 9.4 billion dollars as at April 30, 2016.
  • The Bank is rated BBB+ (GCR), Baa1 (Moody’s), and BBB- (Fitch).
  • The bank is based in Cairo, Egypt.
  • Countries currently on the list of Afreximbank participating and shareholding states include Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, and Lesotho. Others are Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Sao Tome and Principe, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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