African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) launched an initiative allowing African contractors to capitalize on infrastructure investments at the Intra-African Trade Fair in Cairo, Egypt.

Prof. Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank,and Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat launched the Afreximbank Intra-African Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) Contract Promotion Programmeduring #IATF2023’s Presidential Summit.

The programme is the Bank’s initiative to support the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).It aims to facilitate African companies’ successful bids for infrastructure contracts in Africa through capacity building, twinning, market access, financing, guarantees, and technology solutions.

“The EPC initiative will help African contractors to participate in the US$60 billion annual infrastructure investments within Africa, unlike the current practice where most of the contracts go to non-African entities,” Oramahsaid.

Ms. Al-Mashat stated that the programme’s launch would positively influence Africa’s sustainable development agenda.

“It enhances the participation of African companies in infrastructure projects, provides more investment opportunities and facilitates the exchange of information in order to expand partnerships and twinning agreements to drive growth in the engineering, construction and procurement sector,” she said.

Minister Al-Mashatdescribed the platform as a strategic solution to address Africa’s challenges of lack of funding, insufficient information, and a skills gap.

Indeed, addressing those challenges is crucial for addressing the Africa’s estimated $170 billion annual infrastructure funding gap, which can be addressed through international cooperation and infrastructure investment.

She suggested fostering open communication between governments and the private sector to address information and skills gaps, thereby fostering a skilled workforce.

The Minister expressed Egypt’s desire to enhance private sector involvement in development projects, ensuring it is linked to all funding, investment opportunities, and technical support provided by multilateral and bilateral development partners.

“In order to promote these efforts, I have the honour to announce to you that the platform we are launching today will be linked to the Ministry of International Cooperation’s portal for private sector participation, ” she said.

She praised Afreximbankfor having provided over $12 billion in contracts to African EPC companies, and urged international development partners to offer more affordable finance and innovative support for infrastructure and green projects.

The Presidential Summit, attended by Egyptian President Abdel Fatah alSisi, Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa, and Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera, Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, and former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, featured various African political and business leaders.

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