President Muhammadu Buhari says his administration will continue to support efforts to broaden the economy through multilateral financing.
Buhari said this on Sunday when Benedict Oramah, president of African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), paid him a courtesy call in Durban, South Africa.
According to a statement by Garba Shehu, presidential spokesperson, the visit by the Afreximbank boss was ahead of the opening ceremony of the 2nd Intra-African Trade Fair Conference in the South African city on Monday.
“I appreciate the support you are giving Nigerian businesses and by implication, the Nigerian economy. Rest assured, you can count on me as you seek a better trade and investment climate in Africa,” Buhari was quoted as saying.
Oramah, who was accompanied by Wamkele Mene, secretary-general of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) secretariat, thanked Buhari for honouring the invitation of the South African president to attend the Afreximbank-backed fair.
He said it clearly demonstrated that “President Buhari understands the importance of trade and how Intra-African trade can help transform the African economy and of course, that of Nigeria.”
He also appreciated the president for granting the land and accepting to grace the occasion of the ground-breaking ceremony of the Africa Medical Centre of Excellence project to be implemented by the continental bank in Abuja in December.
Oramah said that Nigeria is an important market for the bank “with an exposure of 5.5 billion dollars, and it was therefore imperative that we continue to engage Nigeria at the highest level.”
He said Nigerian businesses got deals worth over 3.3 billion dollars during the first edition of the event in Cairo, Egypt, adding that more is expected at this year’s fair.
Oramah further assured that Afreximbank would be ready to support such business deals emanating from the event “especially considering the support we have seen from the President.”
“Nigeria’s participation was essential as the largest economy in Africa. Africa needs Nigeria as Nigeria needs Africa. Anything we do at the continental level that does not have Nigeria is seen globally as incomplete,” he added