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Afreximbank urges economic cooperation to counter trade uncertainties


•As IMF seeks expansion of trade among countries
African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), has called for greater cooperation among south economies to deal with the uncertainties resulting from the current global trade environment.

President, Afreximbank, Prof. Benedict Oramah, made the call yesterday, on the sidelines of the ongoing 2018 International Monetary Fund (IMF), and World Bank Group Annual Meetings, in Bali, Indonesia.

Speaking during a Panel discussion on, “The Growing Importance of South-South Cooperation Amid Trade Tensions and Global Financial Market Volatility,” Oramah said the rising sentiment of anti-globalism and the push back on multilateralism by the some global powers had put Africa at the periphery, with only three per cent global trade.

He noted that many South economies were in the same situation, adding that with the largest and youngest population and the fastest growing middle class, the economies of the South had all the ingredients to drive economic growth.
As a result, he said developing economies must work together to negotiate in concert at the global level.

In this regard, Oramah disclosed that Afreximbank is building partnerships and developing frameworks that will attract South-South investment and trade into Africa, as trade with the South has become dominant in the continent.
According to him, Africa-South trade has reached 56 per cent of the continent’s total trade against 16 per cent in the early 1990s.

In a related development, IMF Managing Director, Ms Christine Lagarde, in her opening remarks at a Trade Conference on: How Global Trade Can Promote Growth for All, also encouraged more cooperation among world economies to improve and expand trade.

“We need to work together to de-escalate the current trade disputes and enter into a constructive discussion.”

She noted that “Today’s generation of policymakers will be measured by their ability to help create a lasting bond of union and friendship, a trade system that works for all.”

Quoting Adam Smith, who once said: “ Commerce, which ought naturally to be among nations, as among individuals, a bond of union and friendship, has become the most fertile source of discord and animosity,” Lagarde said: “These lines from
The Wealth of Nations could have been written today—for they remind us that building a better trade system has never been an easy task.”

Additionally, she reiterated the need to join hands to fix and modernize the global trade system, not destroy it .

“This means looking at the distortionary effects of state subsidies, improving the enforcement of intellectual property rights, and taking steps to ensure effective competition—to avoid the excesses of market-dominant positions.

“We need to implement domestic policies to ensure that global trade is more effective in delivering for people—all people. We know that trade has helped transform our world—by boosting productivity, spreading new technologies.”

Earlier at the panel discussion organised by the Indonesia Eximbank, the Vice Minister, Finance, Indonesia, Mardiasmo Wamenkeu, said the current isolationist rhetoric was not helpful and had a negative effect on global economic outlook.

He argued that the current economic challenges could be addressing through further collaboration among southern countries through trade agreements.