President Ali urges trust, encourages outstanding CARICOM states to join Afreximbank


By Kurt Campbell in Nassau, Bahamas


President Dr. Irfaan Ali who is the current Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) committed on Thursday to ensuring that all 15 member states of the regional bloc will sign onto the partnership with the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank).

He offered the assurance to the bank’s leadership as he delivered an address at the bank’s 31st Annual Meeting being held in Nassau, Bahamas.

Ali called for building trust between the Caribbean and Africa to take their bilateral relations to greater heights.

In December 2022, Afreximbank approved US$1.5 billion in funding to enable member states of CARICOM that had ratified the Partnership Agreement to tap into the Bank’s various financial instruments.

As of July 2023, eleven of the fifteen CARICOM member states had signed the Partnership with Afreximbank.

“We will continue to work on getting all other outstanding members of the region to become a member of Afreximbank’s family,” Dr. Ali said.

President Dr. Irfaan Ali at the 31st Afreximbank’s annual meetings in Nassau Bahamas. Photo: Office of the President/ June 14, 2024.

The commitment comes as the ‘Global Africa’ campaign picks up momentum with Afreximbank offering the financial support to bring African Diasporas around the world together and Dr. Irfaan Ali, recognizing the shared values of the two regions, has offered his full support.

He congratulated the Bank’s President Benedict Okey Oramah for his stewardship in related management of improving the relationship between the bank and the region.

“This man is simple but has done extraordinary things… much of what the bank achieved is as a result of his direct commitment and intervention,” Dr. Ali said.

On the note of what the bank has done in the Caribbean Region, Dr. Ali said the achievements are remarkable with many member states already benefiting from millions in financing capital.

“How many in the western hemisphere will speak about the impact of the bank in Africa and everywhere else it operates.

“That is why these forums are important and important that every stakeholder turn out to show collective support.”

Only last year the bank opened its CARICOM office in Barbados and has hosted three investment forums between 2022 and 2024.

Dr. Ali said the work the bank has done is a “little spark that can ignite massive transformation.”

And so he also addressed the potential the region offers for the bank’s expansion and the opening of a consumer base of roughly one billion people because of existing trade mechanisms.

Beyond trade, Dr. Ali addressed the possibility of joining forces in the carbon credit market and talking with a collective voice on other major international issues.

“We must design the future how we want to see it, but we have to get collective will,” he said.

And so, Dr. Ali also committed to supporting the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS).

“As chair of CARICOM, I asked the Chair of CSME, Mia Mottley, and she agreed to convene a meeting with all the Ministers of finance so we can take to the next Heads of Government a proposal to use your system to implement a regional system for payment settlement.

“We don’t need to reinvent the wheel we need to trust each other and trust the system,” Dr. Ali said.

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