President of Afreximbank, Professor Benedict Oramah, has disclosed that the bank was the largest financer of the over $19 billion Dangote Refinery, the world’s biggest refinery of its type, which is being inaugurated on Monday.
Oramah made the disclosure last weekend in Accra, Ghana, during the Afreximbank’s 2023 pre-annual meeting press conference for the bank’s 30th anniversary celebration. The event would be hosted in June in the Ghanaian capital, with the theme, “Delivering the Vision, Delivering Prosperity for Africans.”
The Afreximbank president said, “We are proud to have contributed very strongly to the Dangote Refinery that will be opening on the May 22nd. The Dangote Refinery is one of the largest heavy industries ever done on the continent because it is about $19 billion.
“We are the largest financers of that project. The issue of value addition is a priority for us. Most of the things we do are not just creating the goods. We are also helping to develop export-trading companies to create access to market. We are also making sure that whatever we do support the growth of regional supply trade.”
Oramah said apart from financing industries, Afreximbank also ensured financial stability in Africa by enabling African operators in the financial system to acquire many of the international banks in the continent.
He stated, “Under a strategy that Afreximbank is implementing, we are making sure that these banks are acquired by African financial institutions because that is the only way to bring stability to our financial system.
“A situation where our banks are dominated by foreign owned institutions is not all that healthy. While we welcome foreign investors, Africans should own the majority of African banks if you want to avoid instability.”
Oramah also spoke on energy financing and the need to safeguard the environment and called on the wealthy champions of climate and environment issues to take it easy for Africa and allow it to utilise its resources for its own prosperity without let or hindrance.
He said, “The issue of climate is important. But Africa and Africans are more of victims than contributors to the problem. We do not generate the carbon that is causing all these things. Young people going to school in our villages are studying with kerosene lamps. Will you tell a child to switch off the kerosene lamp in order to be energy efficient?
“We think that the emphasis for us will be on adaptation. That is where the risks are for us. We must put pressure on those who contribute most of the carbon to reduce their carbon emission. If you look at the per capita emissions and compare it what you will call the targets that we have set, you will find that Africa still has headroom to emit more because we need to have the energy to run our industries. But others have to reduce theirs. But I know that it is a long talk and the weak can only talk.”
The president of Afreximbank explained that the choice of the theme for the bank’s 30th anniversary was informed by the critical role Afreximbank had been playing over the past three decades in the promotion of economic integration in Africa through support for intra-African trade and investments.
He explained that the choice of Ghana as the host of the 30th anniversary was not a difficult one because Ghana, on account of the pioneering work of its first president, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, was the birthplace of Pan Africanism and it had shown unwavering commitment to African ideals, which Afreximbank subscribe to fully.
Oramah said, “Afreximbank put itself forward as a bank for all Africans wherever they may be.
“The 30th anniversary celebration will be the first gathering of the global Africa because it will be the first annual meeting of the Afreximbank that will welcome our brothers and sisters from the Caribbean’s and diaspora as participating states of Afreximbank following the decision of the Caribbean community last year to join Afreximbank and use Afreximbank as a vehicle for integration of trade, investments and economic relations between Africa and the Caribbean.
“It will be a meeting of global Africans from all walks of life with stakeholders traversing Caribbean, Europe, North America and Asia.
“In addition to our shareholders who will be here, we expect 4,000 guests here during the week.”
Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja, Peter Uzoho, Dike Onwuamaeze in Lagos, Yinka Kolawole in Osogbo