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African Export and Import Bank (Afreximbank) has now established partnerships in its African Trade Facilitation Programme (AFTRAF) with over 80% of Africa’s commercial banks, according to the executive vice president of the Intra-African Trade Bank (IATB), Kanayo Awani.

Credit lines provided through AFTRAF can be used to confirm letters of credit (LCs), issue guarantees and provide irrevocable reimbursement undertakings.

Largest global network

Speaking at the Nigeria Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) this week, Awani said Afreximbank has established partnerships through AFTRAF with around 500 of Africa’s 600 commercial banks.

According to Awani, this programme is now the world’s largest network aimed at strengthening relationships with African commercial banks, specifically to support trade within Africa. 

LC confirmation lines

Through this network, Awani says Afreximbank has concluded plans to grant about $8 billion in LC confirmation lines to commercial banks.

AFTRAF is designed to counter the recurring trend of reduction or withdrawal of trade lines to African banks by international banks pursuing de-risking strategies. 

Intra-African Trade Bank

In 2022, Awani was appointed as executive vice-president of the IATB. This is a new executive division of Afreximbank responsible for driving all the bank’s intra-African trade activities, including all its African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) implementation engagements.

At the IATF event, Awani described how Afreximbank was working to implement the African AfCFTA adjustment fund.

The $10 billion fund is viewed as a key tool for achieving the goals of the AfCFTA. It aims to assist African businesses and financial institutions in acquiring the necessary resources and skills to enable free trade within the emerging trading bloc.

This article represents the views of the author and not necessarily those of the ICC or Coastline Solutions.