President Muhammadu Buhari Sunday in Durban, South Africa assured that the Nigerian government would continue to support efforts to broaden the economy through multilateral financing.
The President spoke when Prof. Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) paid him a courtesy call ahead of the opening ceremony of the 2nd Intra-African Trade Fair Conference in the South African city on Monday.
“I appreciate the support you are giving Nigerian businesses and by implication, the Nigerian economy. Rest assured you can count on me as you seek a better trade and investment climate in Africa,” he said.
The President of the bank who came in company of the Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, Wamkele Mene, thanked President Buhari for honouring the invitation of the South African President to attend the Afreximbank-backed Fair, joining other Heads of State, saying it clearly demonstrated that “President Buhari understands the importance of trade and how Intra-African trade can help transform the African economy and of course, that of Nigeria.”
He also appreciated the Nigerian leader for granting the land and accepting to grace the occasion of the ground-breaking ceremony of the Africa Medical Centre of Excellence project to be implemented by the continental bank in Abuja in December.
Prof. Oramah reiterated that Nigeria is an important market for the bank “with an exposure of 5.5 billion dollars and it was therefore imperative that we continue to engage Nigeria at the highest level.” He said Nigerian businesses got deals worth over 3.3 billion dollars during the first edition of the event in Cairo, Egypt, adding that more is expected at this year’s Fair with an assurance that Afreximbank would be ready to support such business deals emanating from the event “especially considering the support we have seen from the President.”
“Nigeria’s participation was essential as the largest economy in Africa. Africa needs Nigeria as Nigeria needs Africa. Anything we do at the continental level that does not have Nigeria is seen globally as incomplete,” he said.