The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) said on Wednesday it had admitted Sao Tome and Principe as its 41st African country.
This is contained in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
The bank said that the accession instrument was executed on behalf of the government by Américo d’Oliverira dos Ramos, Minister of Finance and Public Administration of Sao Tome, on April 6.
The statement quoted Dr Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank, as saying, “This move by the Government of Sao Tome and Principe brings us closer to achieving our objective of having all African countries as members of the bank.
“It makes it easier for us to implement our intra-African trade strategy; it expands the geographic focus of our emerging Blue Economy Strategy.”
Oramah noted that the country would immediately become eligible to benefit from Afreximbank’s wide range of trade finance services and programmes.
Under its terms, countries that did not sign the 1993 Abidjan Agreement on the Establishment of the bank are required to first issue an instrument of acceptance and accession.
Thereafter, agreement is formally ratified in order to fully activate their membership of the bank.
Current Afreximbank participating states include Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, and Lesotho.
Others are Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Participating states become shareholders when they acquire shares in the bank.
Afreximbank shareholders are a mix of public and private entities divided into four classes and consist of African governments, central banks, regional and sub-regional institutions, private investors and financial institutions.
There are also non-African financial institutions and export credit agencies.
Located near the equator in the Gulf of Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe had depended on agriculture as its primary source of revenue, with cocoa representing 95 per cent.
The recent discovery of oil in the Gulf of Guinea has had a significant impact on the economy.
Afreximbank is the foremost Pan-African multilateral financial institution devoted to financing and promoting intra- and extra-African trade.
The Bank was established in October 1993 by African governments, African private and institutional investors, and non-African investors.
Its two basic constitutive documents are the Establishment Agreement, which gives it the status of an international organization, and the Charter, which governs its corporate structure and operations.
Since 1994, it has approved more than $41 billion in credit facilities for African businesses, including about $6.2 billion in 2015.
Afreximbank had total assets of $9.4 billion as at April 30, 2016 and is rated BBB- (Fitch) and Baa2 (Moody’s). The Bank is headquartered in Cairo. (NAN)