African Export-Import Bank is to lead collaboration for the establishment of a pan-African Sub-Sovereign Network aimed at facilitating trade in the continent, in line with the objectives of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). This was disclosed by the Premier of Kwazulu-Natal Province of South Africa, Sihle Zikalala, in his opening remarks during the African Sub-Sovereign Governments Conference, as part of activities at the ongoing Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF). The conference took place at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban, South Africa, and was attended physically and virtually. “We applaud the secretariat of the IATF for ensuring that we dedicate time to promote an understanding of the power and roles of African sub-sovereigns in trade and investments. This session was conceived to be a platform to facilitate business exchanges and the development of a Sovereign Network to promote trade and investments among African sub-sovereigns.
“Prof. Benedict Oramah and other representatives from Afreximbank will elaborate further on how, starting from today, we will take a step forward in concretising plans for the establishment of a pan-African Sub-Sovereign Network to facilitate trade within the broad objectives of the AfCFTA,” he said. Zikalala used the forum to express gratitude to Nigeria, through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), for signing a $1.4 billion facility for the exploration of petroleum resources in the province. In this regard, allow me to congratulate our sister country, Nigeria, for signing on our shores a $1.4 billion facility with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), on Tuesday to finance the exploration of petroleum, which is one of the major deals signed at this trade fair,” the premier added. He also commended Afreximbank which he said had continued to show leadership and funding deals aimed at growing the African economy “while building bridges among different African countries, states, provinces, and local municipalities.
“Indeed, there are many lessons that other financing institutions can learn from Afreximbank on how they are able to deploy innovative structures to deliver financing solutions that support the transformation of the structure of Africa’s trade, thereby accelerating industrialisation and intra-Africa trade”. Acknowledging that Africa is the new growth frontier, the premier, however, noted that potential for such growth remained “in municipal wards, local municipalities, district municipalities, provinces or states, and indeed at country level.” Zikalala went further to decry the level of greenhouse emission which is the bedrock of climate change in Africa, despite contributing the least of such emission in the globe. He also pledged his support for any development aimed at reducing greenhouse gases. “While Africa contributes about four per cent of the total greenhouse emissions, it is sad that the continent feels much of the brunt of climate change caused by the industrialised nations of the world. We must insist on a just transition from fossil fuels to cleaner sources of energy which does not arrest Africa’s development or destroy jobs. In KwaZulu-Natal, we will continue to support new developments that help us reduce the carbon footprint while simultaneously ensuring that our people are adequately skilled to be at the forefront of the new, green industries,” he added.