By John Oyuke
The bank announced yesterday it is investing in African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) as part of a larger strategy to boost Africa’s intra-regional trade and to attract foreign direct investments.
AfDB’s Regional Director for East Africa, Gabriel Negatu said the partnerships will help to shore up the region’s integration initiatives. “Strengthening Africa-to-Africa business is a long term solution to shielding the continent from future external shocks,” Negatu said at a news conference attended by ATI’s Chief Executive George Otieno in Nairobi.
Negatu observed that schemes to boost intra-regional trade such as the Tripartite trading bloc consisting of 26 countries in East and Southern Africa will create a combined GDP and potential market of $875 billion. “This is a viable market in which African countries can benefit from marketing their goods and services to each other,” he added.
Otieno said while Africa continues to record impressive growth rates relative to the rest of the world, there is need to ensure the necessary components of a sound economy are continually put in place.
“This translates to building strong economies that are reliant on trade and investments rather than solely on donor aid,” he noted.
Negatu said there is a need for heavy investment in infrastructure in order to increase intraregional trade.
“Africa’s demand for infrastructure is almost insatiable at $93 billion per year. We are only scratching the surface in bridging this financing gap. With the right investment and policy mix decisions, Africa will continue being an attractive destination for capital, and we are well on our way on this front,” Negatu observed.
Otieno said the new capital injection would enable the Nairobi-based insurer to cover more transactions, specifically within the infrastructure sector.