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2024 Annual Meetings: Afreximbank, ACTIF Calls for Global African Unity

Obasanjo, Denya, Rolle, others emphasize the importance of a united global Africa at Afreximbank and ACTIF 2024 Annual Meetings

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by Ìbùkúnolúwa Dàda

The 31st African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) Annual Meetings (AAM) and the 3rd AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF), have called for Africans across the globe to unite as on kick-off day, June 12 in Nassau, Bahamas.

 The three-day event, themed “Owning our Destiny: Economic Prosperity on the Platform of Global Africa,” aims to strengthen ties within Africa and with the Caribbean. Several speakers have echoed this as a significant action for African progress.  

In his speech, Mr. John Rolle, Governor of the Central Bank of The Bahamas, encouraged attendees to seize opportunities to learn, share, and network. He suggested that the Caribbean could benefit from learning about Africa’s Pan African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) and expressed belief that with Afreximbank’s support, Central Banks across the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) could work towards replicating the system. Mr. Rolle emphasized that a successful project in the Caribbean could help deliver targets for a more integrated, faster, and cheaper international payment system, even at the retail level. He also noted that perfecting the multilateral cross-border payments and settlements arrangement could help conserve precious international reserves, especially if intra-regional trade expands.

Mr. Denys Denya, Senior Executive Vice President of Afreximbank, described the AAM and ACTIF2024 as a reunion of all Africans in the context of Global Africa, which aims to unite Africans, their diaspora, and descendants worldwide. He stressed that the meetings would help shape the shared vision and aspirations of the Caribbean region and Africa. Mr. Denya highlighted the struggle for sustainable development faced by both regions, despite an abundance of natural resources, and emphasized the importance of unifying forces in the context of Global Africa to influence global decisions and create a better future.

Ms. Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director of the International Trade Centre, highlighted the significant trade potential between Africa and the Caribbean, projecting annual trade to reach US$1.8 million by 2028. She suggested exploring the establishment of a free trade area between the two regions, stating that trade agreements can help reduce barriers and open new opportunities.

Following the Opening Ceremony, delegates attended a session on “Building Resilience in an Era of Globalization,” featuring a keynote address by Dr. Roger W. Ferguson, Former Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve and the first African American to hold that position. Dr. Ferguson emphasized the importance of developing diverse and flexible systems to respond to challenges and highlighted the risks of rigidity in the face of shocks.

During the first plenary session on navigating economic transformation in a poly-crisis world, Dr. Donald P. Kaberuka, Chairman and Managing Partner of SouthBridge Group and Former President of African Development Bank Group, stressed the importance of countries learning to manage crises rather than treating them as unique situations. Prof. Jeffery Sachs, Senior Lecturer in Economics at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) of the Erasmus University of Rotterdam, emphasized that in the face of intense international competition, Africa must unite. He stated, “You cannot operate in this world as a small country. Even the small countries that are successful are part of somebody’s world. And Africa is too big to be part of somebody’s world. It’s got to be Africa as a fundamental pillar of the world scene.”

During the session “A Time to Pause and Reflect: A Global Africa Vision for Afri-Caribbean Socio-Political and Economic Cooperation and Integration,” former leaders Hon. Percival Noel James Patterson, and H.E. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former president of Nigeria,  emphasized the crucial importance of cooperation between Africa and the Caribbean.

 H.E. Chief Obasanjo shared a valuable lesson from his father, stating, “What you can do for yourself, don’t outsource it for somebody else, because it will not be good enough. We have outsourced our further development to others. The time has come when we have talked too much, and it’s no longer thought. It is action.” Hon. Patterson added, “We must build trading leads between Africa and the Caribbean. The slave trade must be converted into a trade of goods and

services.”

The event has over two thousand delegates in attendance, including Heads of State, Ministers, government officials, and prominent business leaders such as the richest man in Africa, Aliko Dangote who said in a fireside chat at the meetings that his Lagos refinery would not have been possible without  Afreximbank.

Other delegates at the meetings include H.E Mr Babajide Sanwoolu, Governor of Lagos state, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Former Vice President of Nigeria, Hon. Kevin Greenidge, Governor, Central Bank of Barbados, Dr. Donald P. Kaberuka, Chairman and Managing Partner, SouthBridge Group and Former President African Development Bank Group, Dr. Howard Nicholas Senior Lecturer in Economics at the International Institute of Social Studies (SS) of the Erasmus University of Rotterdam and Mr. Denys Denya, Senior Executive Vice President, Afreximbank.

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