In prelude to the event, the bank met with GICAM yesterday to present its activities.
The African Export and Import Bank, AFREXIMBANK will soon open a regional office for central Africa in Yaounde. In prelude to the event, the bank held what they referred to as 'the inaugural roadshow business forum' with members of the employers union, GICAM in collaboration with the Douala City Council, during which the bank presented its activities to the business class in Cameroon.
In his welcome address, the Government Delegate to the Douala City Council, Fritz Ntone Ntone said he was grateful for the innovative solutions provided by AFREXIMBANK to the problem of financing in Cameroon. He said the city of Douala has embarked on an ambitious development plan that will cost FCFA 900 billion and which offers business opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises.
The President of GICAM, Celestin Tawamba, said he was happy AFREXIMBANK is coming to Cameroon at a time when GICAM is launching an initiative to boost the financing of SMEs and expressed the hope that AFREXIMBANK will participate in the initiative. He said the total credit to SMEs in Cameroon is just about 14 to 15 per cent of the gross domestic product whereas it amounts to 22 per cent in countries like Senegal where the bank is implanted.
In his presentation, the Global Head Clients Relations Officer of AFREXIMBANK, Rene Awambeng said the decision to open a regional office for central Africa in Yaounde was taken by the board of directors of the bank and they held pre-talks with the business class in Cameroon to identify projects they can help execute. He said the bank is out to promote intra- African trade and trade infrastructure. He explained the bank's five-year programme, 'Impact 2021' falls in line with Cameroon's Emergence plan. "Cameroon needs to industrialise", he said.
The presentation was followed by a question and answer session during which the Cameroon business class complained that the minimum loan of one billion dollar was too high for SMEs in Cameroon and urged the bank to review it strategy towards them, which the bank accepted to do. The bank with head office in Egypt, has branches in Abidjan, Abuja, Kampala, Harare and soon Yaounde. The bank is due to sign two memorandums of understanding with government on December 13; the first pertaining to the opening of the office and the second concerning the development of business projects in Cameroon.