Seven months after the first-ever AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum was held in Barbados, one of the organising partners African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has announced that Barbados would be the home of it’s CARICOM Office.
The Bank’s Board has given their approval for the location.
I am delighted to announce this important milestone
The inaugural Forum in September 2022 was done by Afreximbank, the Government of Barbados and other partners and included a direct flight to Barbados from Nigeria with entrepreneurs and ministerial officials, as well as the bank’s staff.
The Afreximbank CARICOM Office is supposed to support the implementation of the Partnership Agreement, entered into by, and between, Afreximbank and CARICOM Member States aimed at expanding Africa-Caribbean trade and investment relations.
Investment flows between Africa and the Caribbean are currently almost non-existent
According to the press released, 10 out of the 15 CARICOM Member States have signed the Agreement, which confers upon the signatories the status akin to those held by Africa Participating States. It consolidates the Bank’s efforts to promote and develop South-South trade, specifically trade between Africa and the Caribbean, in line with its Diaspora Strategy and African Union’s designation of the African Diaspora as Africa’s sixth region.
Following the establishment of the Partnership Agreement, US$1.5 billion in credit limit was approved by the Board of Directors of Afreximbank to support eligible CARICOM States, with a commitment to increase this to US$3 billion.
The financing will be targeted at supporting economic sectors identified as core to boosting the region’s prosperity, particularly the development of trade-enabling infrastructure, as well as boosting trade and investments between Africa and the CARICOM Member States while providing support to Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s).
Steps to improve business relations between CARICOM and Africa
The establishment of Afreximbank CARICOM Office is critical to facilitating operations of the Bank in the Caribbean Community. It will bring Afreximbank’s products and initiatives closer to the business community and ensure that the Bank rapidly ramps-up operations to promote stronger relations with the Governments in the region towards the pursuit of mutually identified priorities.
Professor Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank, said:
“I am delighted to announce this important milestone as we forge closer ties with our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean.
“There are enormous opportunities to scale the trade and investment flows between the African continent and the broader African diaspora. Investment flows between Africa and the Caribbean are currently almost non-existent. This strategic partnership will open the door for enhanced trade and investment between Africa and the Caribbean. We are poised to right the wrongs of the middle passage. This approval is an important step towards that end.
Editor’s Note: The Afreximbank Board has so far approved the establishment of CARICOM Office in Barbados.