Afreximbank approves $69m dividend pay-out as AGM ends in Moscow

The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) will pay a total of $69 million to its shareholders as dividend from its 2018 earnings, according to decisions reached during the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders (AGM) of the Bank which ended in Moscow. The shareholders also appointed one new member to its Board of Directors and decided to retain Nigeria, which has been its Chairman since the last meeting in Abuja in 2018, in that position for one more year. In another decision, the AGM approved the Bank’s 2018 Annual Report which includes the 2018 Financial Statements. In his report to the AGM, Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank, said that the Bank’s total revenues rose by 24 per cent in 2018 to reach $806 million while the net income increased to $276 million, representing a 26 per cent increase on the level in 2017.

The Bank’s total assets, including contingent liabilities, went up by 15 per cent from $13 billion in 2017 to $15 billion in 2018, said President Oramah. That profit performance reflected strong growth in interest and fee income from diversified sources by geography and financial products.

He informed the shareholders that during its extra-ordinary session in Nouakchott in July 2018, the African Union Heads of State Summit had approved the accreditation of the Bank to the AU, allowing the AU to adopt most of the Bank’s flagship initiatives as continental initiatives. That action would help to accelerate adoption of such initiatives at the national level, thereby improving the pace of implementation at lower cost. Prof. Oramah explained that the accreditation was a privilege which was previously enjoyed only by the African Development Bank and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

The end of the AGM marked the conclusion of the Bank’s 2019 Annual Meetings (AAM2019) which started on 20 June with the seminar and meeting of the Advisory Group on Trade Finance and Export Development in Africa, declared open by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

On 21 June, Dimitri Medvedev, Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation, had addressed the opening session of the AGM. AAM2019 was held under the theme “Harnessing Emerging Partnerships in an Era of Rising Protectionism” and deliberated on such topics as: How South-South trade can be a path to Africa’s integration into the global economy; Multilateralism in the current global economic order of protectionism; and The role of investing in Africa’s infrastructure in accelerating intra-African trade and economic development.

Highlights of AAM2019 include the launch of the African Trade Report 2019; the launch of the Afreximbank Export Trading Company Strategy; and a half-day programme of activities dedicated to Russia–Africa investment cooperation. A number of trade agreements were also signed at the event. AAM2019 marked the second time Afreximbank Annual Meetings would take place outside Africa. The 2012 Annual Meetings were held in Beijing.

Meanwhile, Dimitri Medvedev, Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation has urged Africa and Russia to harness their immense resources to foster a greater economic future for their people,. Mr. Medvedev, who was speaking while declaring open the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) held as part of the Bank’s 2019 Annual Meetings, noted that Africa and Russia accounted for half the world’s resources. He said that although Russia’s presence in Africa had weakened in the 1990’s, the country had since then done a great deal of groundwork on joint projects in geology and mining, energy, industry, agriculture, fishing and telecommunications.

“We are promoting humanitarian ties, both as part of international assistance to Africa’s comprehensive development and on a bilateral basis,” added Mr. Medvedev. “In this new era of Russia-African cooperation, the Government of the Russian Federation will do everything in our power to make our partnership a success”. He stated that globalisation had shifted growth to developing countries, making Africa a more important partner for Russia, adding that Africa could tap into Russia’s decades-old business and industrial expertise to boost domestic capacity and exploit opportunities. In his own address, Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank, called on partners from all corners of the world who shared the vision of a progressive African continent and of Afreximbank to “join forces with us to push forward a new agenda for Africa.

“The Russian Federation represents one of such partners that Africa looks up to,” said President Oramah. Russia could be a source of investment goods that Africa needed to develop its infrastructure and could transfer critical technology in digitisation and in mining and processing of raw materials. It could also be a source of non-debt creating investments in key areas, such as rail, aviation, healthcare, and petrochemicals. The traditional international relationships of the African continent are changing rapidly as we forge ever closer links with emerging partners who are eager to assist the economic development of Africa through sectoral and infrastructure investments across the continent and embrace ever stronger trading links,” he said.

“Russia, in particular, is forging a new relationship with Africa, as are other South-South emerging partners, which, in tandem with the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, gives me great confidence that Africa is well positioned to ride this era of global trade tensions that threaten to damage other continental economies.” He said that “A resurgent Africa is on a transformative journey of industrialisation and diversification to ensure that we are not over-dependent on our commodities and vast reserves of natural resources. We are heralding a new era of intra-African trade and global trade and investment relationships which will overturn the historic constraints curtailing the past growth and development of Africa’s economies”. Closer links between Africa and Russia are evidenced by the partnership between Afreximbank and the Russian Export Centre, agreed in December 2017, which established a successful Africa-Russia institutional platform. That platform is already delivering on its promise with such successes as the provision of vital fertilizer to Zambia and Zimbabwe, the implementation of mining projects with added-value processing capacity in Sierra Leone, participation in Africa’s rail infrastructure and the establishment of petrochemical plants in Angola and Nigeria.

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