By Baba Sillah
The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) will commit up to US$500 million in financing to support the revival of agriculture, growth of the financial sector and construction of world-class tourism and trade logistics infrastructure in The Gambia, bank President Dr Benedict Oramah announced in Banjul on Monday.
Speaking after meetings with Gambian President Adama Barrow and several ministers, Dr Oramah, who led a delegation of business leaders to discuss trade and investment in the country, said that Afreximbank had identified opportunities to improve productivity and capacity in the country’s agriculture and energy sectors.
He said that the visit was to consult with the Government on its development priorities and to identify areas where the Bank’s intervention would be required, adding that the Bank was interested in deploying its Construction Tourism Relay Facility to develop luxury hotels and resorts which would generate higher revenues and foreign exchange inflows for the country while having limited impact on natural resources.
Dr Oramah announced that the bank would soon launch a Contingency Food Emergency Trade Financing Facility to help countries, such as The Gambia, that were exposed to droughts or floods to improve their financial preparedness to rapidly respond to such circumstances through food imports.
Other areas where the bank could intervene included the provision of bridging finance for upgrade and expansion of the country’s major ports and related logistics infrastructure, he added.
President Barrow welcomed Afreximbank’s pledge of support and said that the bank’s financing offering was in line with Gambia’s three-year Programme for Accelerated Growth aimed at implementing urgent targeted interventions to improve the livelihood of Gambians.
The programme’s four key focus areas were: improving macroeconomic management frameworks; strengthening the public sector; promoting sustainable inclusive growth; and investing in human capital.
The Afreximbank delegation also held meetings with the Minister of Energy and with representatives of the National Water and Electricity Company, the Central Bank of Gambia, the Gambia Tourism Board and the private sector to discuss their specific needs and identify areas of possible collaboration with the Bank and with the business leaders accompanying the mission.