Benedict Oramah

8 May 2018  Business News
The need to build and upgrade the decayed maritime and logistics infrastructure, which dotted the various coastlines of the continent’s economies have been re-echoed by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank).   The collective response of all economies in Africa to the call has become necessary for a seamless intra-Africa trade flow, as the situational development has been described as weak and particularly harmful to African trade.  Afreximbank President, Dr. Benedict Oramah, who noted that the continent currently had the world’s highest transportation and transaction costs, orchestrated by parlous infrastructure, maintained that it is time to act and successfully promote the continent’s trade, especially intra-African trade.  Oramah was represented at the Africa Ship owners Summit in Seychelles, recently, by the Managing Director of Afreximbank’s Intra-African Trade Initiative, Kanayo Awani. He pointed out that only a few of the African countries with access to the sea had established the right infrastructure for marine transport even though Marine transport accounted for 92 per cent of Africa’s external trade, while 92 per cent of the continents imports were seaborne.   Awani said Africa currently handled only six per cent of global seaborne traffic, out of which 50 per cent of the volume was handled by Egypt and South Africa. Lamenting that most African countries did not have national vessels, she said it was estimated that Kenya lost about $3billion yearly in money paid to foreign shipping lines.   She however, recommended that there should be incentives to encourage African businesses to support the development of local shipping lines and called for investment in national/domestic fleet through gradual and staggered vessel acquisition, terminal management, freight forwarding and logistics.  “Opportunities also existed in inland waterways, cruise ship services, trans-shipment, container manufacturing and repairs, dry docking and other value addition services, such as sorting, arranging, packaging/re-packaging, cold storage and distribution,” she added.