AFREXIM Bank @ 30 & The Urgency of African Border Security

Africa Export import Bank was established in Abuja Nigeria in October 1993 by African Governments, Private and Institutional investors as well as non African financial institutions, for the purpose of promoting intra-Africa and extra Africa trade, stimulate a consistent expansion, diversification and development of Africa trade.

Between 18th – 21st June 2023, Ghana hosted the 30th Annual general meeting which coincided with the 30th Anniversary of the Bank with the theme. Delivering the vision, building prosperity for Africa.

This historic gathering of African leaders was not only to celebrate the success stories in the last decades but to deliberate, reflect on possible ways of contributing meaningfully to African recovery process after the pandemic by looking at overcoming the challenges of food security for sustainable development, realizing the vision of Africanism across generations, challenges of peace and security etc.
The host, President Akufo Addo told participants that African financial Institution lacks financial backing and needed to be capitalized in order to deliver effectively for the continent. The Chairman Board of Afrexim Bank Prof. Benedict Oramah confirmed that the Bank is delivering on the laid out blue print of the pioneers of African Union Socio-economic transformation, speakers were united towards granting transport and transit facilities and establishing a free trade area among the various African Countries.

Disappointingly these cannot be achieved maximally without coordinated management of African Borders. Report Review of African Natural resources center 2016 on illicit trade in natural resources in African countries shows that minerals, fisheries, timber, wildlife and oil sectors account for the bulk of illicit trading across borders in Africa.

In mining sector the minerals that are targeted for illicit trading are mainly high value resources. Illicit diamond trading is rife in Zimbabwe’s Marange diamond field, Central Africa republic, Sierra Leone etc.

African Marine, fisheries contributed significantly to the livelihood of the coastal communities.

The fante people of Ghana for example have been fishing along the West African coast since the 18th Century. According to the review losses from fishing industry are estimated to be about 2,5billion dollars annually, illicit trade in Forestry Sector is estimated to $13 Billion Regionally the highest is recorded in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Gabon, Ghana and Equatorial Guinea.

According to the United Nations Environmental program and world Economic forum the estimated value of illicit trading in wild life globally is between $7billion to $23 billion. In Tanzania for example the elephant population dropped in 2014 as the tusks remains a product for illicit trade across African borders.

South Africa in the same year lost 215 Rhinous, this remains a problem for wild life management. Illicit trading in oil in Africa amounts to approximately $100 billion annually. Blatant trade of Crude oil through vandalization of pipelines, proliferation of illegal refinery. There have been specutations that the illegal shipment of oil product in Southern Sudan from Port in Khartium, remains a serious problem.

The time to extend hands of collaboration with World Border Security Congress is now. A well managed African Borders will significantly improve country’s international trade position, increases country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), expand legitimate export trade which enables them to earn more foreign exchange and put them on an economic healthly position to contribute immensely to Afrexim Bank Capital Base which remains very small compared to the African developmental challenges.

Africa export import Bank must note this realities and further demonstrate more commitment to the vision of this great institution by extending a hand of collaboration to world border security congress now.

Happy 30th Anniversary from all of us from WAANSA Nigeria

By Martin Igwe, The Director Media & Advocacy, West African Action Network on Small Arms (WAANSA Nigeria)