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Egypt invests US$600m on becoming intra-African trade hub

News that the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) has given the go ahead to the establishment an export risk guarantee company has been greeted with praise by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank). The bank's president, Professor Benedict Oramah, said the new company will give a major boost to the country’s role as a critical hub for intra-African trade and allow it to be a key driver in the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement.

Welcoming the announcement that the CEB's board of directors had approved the establishment of an Export Credit Risk Guarantee company with a capital of US$600m, Oramah said that the company will make it possible for Egypt to take advantage of the many promising opportunities for trade between it and other African countries.

He said that the company would greatly compliment Afreximbank’s service offerings promoting Egypt-Africa trade by creating more capacity, noting that the bank had provided an aggregate of about US$7.5bn in support of Egypt-Africa trade and contract financing in the past few years.

“Afreximbank will share risks with the Export Credit Risk Guarantee company and will fund projects covered by the company where necessary,” stated Oramah, who went on to congratulate CBE Governor Tarek Amer and the CBE Board for their initiative in setting up the company.

The establishment of the company follows an study carried out by the Central Bank in partnership with the Afreximbank, which highlighted that lack of required financial services, lack of information, high levels of risk and high cost of financing were hindering investors and banks from taking advantage of opportunities for trade between Egypt and other African countries.

The study also pointed out that, given its economic potential, geographical location and strong relationship with other African countries, Egypt had the capacity to support African trade if the necessary banking entities and supporting instruments were available. The CBE's board of directors subsequently, in June 2019, approved the appointment of a technical office nominated by Afreximbank to work toward the establishment of the company.

The new company will provide strategic support for Egyptian industrial and export services to the rest of Africa and is designed to support Egyptian companies by helping them to win contract for major projects with African governments. 

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