Morocco — The African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim Bank) has said that Africa accounts for only 15 per cent of the continent's $1 trillion total trade in the world per year.
Speaking to journalists at the sideline of the 18th edition of the bank's annual Structured Trade and Finance Seminar and Workshops holding in Casablanca, Morocco, yesterday, the bank's Executive Vice President, Mr. Amr Kamel, said $150 billion annual intra-African trade can be revised upwards with the right policies.
Mr. Kamel said the main problem with intra-African trade is more of less information on intra-African markets than poor infrastructure to support such trades within Africa.
He said though Africa has infrastructure challenges militating against trade, but the current infrastructure can raise the value of intra-African trade once the relevant information was available.
Commenting on the reluctance of some African countries to sign the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, Mr. Kamel said he was confident that they would come on board.
"The train has left the station. It is either you join or be left behind," he said of the countries yet to sign the agreement.
Nigeria is not among the over 44 countries that have signed the agreement.
Meanwhile, speaking at the opening section of the event, Afrexim Bank's Director and Global Head, Trade Finance, Mrs. Gwen Nwaba, said it was easier for Nigeria to import rice from South East Asia than within Africa.
Mrs Nwaba said that was largely due to intra-African trade barriers which Afrexim Bank was trying to dismantle.
She said when the barriers are dismantled through intra-African free trade pact, Nigeria would have no reason to import rice from Asia instead of Africa.