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Nigeria: Access Bank, Afreximbank Sign $170m Caribbean Investment Deal

Access Bank, in collaboration with Export Development in Africa (FEDA), has entered into a capital mobilization agreement of $220 million with Afreximbank. This funding will be utilized for investments in the Caribbean and the broader CARICOM financial services sector.

Group managing director, Access Corporation, Herbert Wigwe, disclosed this at the ongoing 2023 AfriCaribbean trade and investment forum in Georgetown, Guyana.

Represented by operations manager,  Chima Okafor, during the panel session on, ‘One Year of AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Revival: Lessons from Experience’, he said the signing was to strengthen financial services in the Caribbean region to support economic growth and development initiatives in the region and to establish credit mechanism to facilitate that investment.

“We have great news today, Access Bank and the Fund for Export Development in Africa (FEDA) working with Afreximbank will be announcing $220 million in capital mobilisation, which is anchored by Access Bank to invest in the Caribbean or broadly the CARICOM financial services sector.

He stated that considering the significant impact of banking capital, the bank aims to mobilize over $2 billion for lending opportunities in infrastructure finance and production finance throughout the Caribbean region.

“Access bank is extremely excited, for today to be the beginning of a journey that we know will yield a lot of good fruit, a lot of good growth, yield a lot of trade and further investment between Africa and the Caribbean. I am looking forward to a journey ahead spearheaded by Access bank,” he said.

He pointed out that in the past decade to fifteen years, there has been a notable trend of European banks, particularly, withdrawing from Africa. This year, Access Bank made headlines by announcing the acquisition of five subsidiaries of Standard Chartered Bank. Standard Chartered had made a similar decision to exit these countries, likely influenced by factors akin to those observed in the Caribbean region.

“I will say speaking to compliance is one of the reasons for many of these international banks leaving the countries,” he said.

Executive vice president, Intra-African Trade Bank, Afreximbank, Kanayo Awani, noted from the report of The International Trade Centre (ITC) that exports from Africa is not even 0.1 percent. The report last year said trade between the Caribbean and Africa is also less than one per cent. It is concentrated in minerals and chemicals. In the Caribbean, only two countries dominate the trade currently and that is Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago. There is also the issue of market access cost, she said.

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