The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) approved a $69 million dividend pay-out to shareholders from its 2018 earnings, the bank announced as their annual meetings wrapped up in Moscow on Saturday.
Last year the Bank’s total revenues shot up 24% to reach $806 million, Afreximbank’s president Prof. Benedict Oramah told shareholders.
Net income also climbed to $276 million, jumping 26% from 2017 levels.
The Bank’s total assets, including liabilities, grew 15% from $13 billion in 2017 to $15 billion in 2018, Oramah said.
African Trade Report
On the side-lines of the meetings the bank launched its 2019 Africa Trade Report which revealed that Africa’s total trade volume grew 3.4% to over $997.9 billion in 2018.
The European Union retained pole position as Africa’s top continental trading partner in 2018 – accounting for 29.8% of total trade, according to the report.
South-South trade continued its steady incline over the last decade, accounting for more than 35% of the continent’s total trade in 2018.
China and India consolidated their positions as Africa’s first and second largest trading partners, accounting for over 21% of total African trade in 2018.
As governments across the continent take steps to implement a continent-wide free trade area, inter-African trade also rose 17% in 2018, reaching $159 billion.
The report’s chief economist and author Dr Hippolyte Fofack pointed out that burgeoning inter-regional trade grew three times faster than trade with external partners, driving overall trade figures on the continent up:
“Intra-African trade, which grew by 17 per cent in 2018, was the major driver of Africa’s total merchandise trade in 2018.”
Oramah urged governments across the continent to grasp with both hands the opportunities flowing from the global digital revolution, the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, growing domestic demand and populations and our ever-closer investment and trading links with emerging partners in the South.
“We must exert concerted action to ensure that we develop, industrialize and diversify our industries and supporting infrastructure to foster regional integration and participate fully in regional and global value chains,” he said.
Thousands of delegates from across the continent including African Union ministers and government officials from Uganda, Rwanda, Sierra Leone descended on Moscow for the talks, which included sessions on Russia–Africa investment, in which a number of trade agreements were signed.
The conference will cover issues from railway infrastructure, agriculture, agricultural equipment, digital economy, healthcare and education, the Russian Export Center’s (REC) chief Andrei Slepnev told Russia’s TASS news agency.
“We expect this to lay the foundation for substantive agreements that will be reached by October, during a large-scale political summit “Russia – Africa” and the economic forum,” Slepnev said.
“At the same time, more than 3,000 foreign delegates, as well as 2,000 Russian representatives, will take part in the events.
Russian-African trade volumes are expected to double within the next 3-4 years, REC predicts.
Russia’s investment in Africa hit US$20bn in 2018, Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov told the meeting in his opening address.
The bank’s annual meetings, held under the banner ‘Harnessing Emerging Partnerships in an Era of Rising Protectionism,’ kicked-off on June 20th.