President Buhari Opens African Export-Import Bank 25th Anniversary
Opening speech by his Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at the 2018 Annual General Meeting/25th Anniversary of AFREXIM Bank.
On behalf of the Government and People of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I most warmly welcome you all to the 2018 Annual General Meeting and the 25th anniversary celebration of the African Export-Import Bank here in our capital city, Abuja. I wish to express my heartfelt appreciation to the Board Members and Management of the AFREXIM Bank as well as shareholders who made the decision to convene these two important events in Nigeria.
Most importantly, I must express my deep gratitude and personal appreciation to Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government who were here to celebrate this truly Pan African success story. The 25th Anniversary of the AFREXIM Bank clearly demonstrates to the world that Africa can create and maintain a world class organization.
Since inception, AFREXIM Bank has grown to become a global powerhouse for the development, facilitation, promotion and financing of African trade.
Just two days ago, I had the pleasure of hosting the board of AFREXIM Bank. I was pleased to hear first hand the positive impact the Bank has made to date. I was particularly encouraged by their plans for inclusive growth and sustainable development in Africa’s economies. This was the vision of the Bank’s founding fathers.
Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Africa’s journey to prosperity can only be achieved by supporting inclusive and sustainable projects. We must therefore congratulate and continue to support AFREXIM Bank to deliver on this mandate.
Permit me to also express my appreciation to our Member States for their trust and steadfastness in supporting the efforts of AFREXIM Bank. This support is not just manifested by financial investment in the Bank but by creating the enabling environment for progress through infrastructure driven growth.
Our Government has adopted a policy of inclusive economic growth. We are determined to attain this by reducing our over reliance on crude oil. To date, we have invested aggressively in infrastructure to support our growth potential in agriculture and solid minerals. We are also empowering many Nigerian entrepreneurs in the entertainment and digital economies to mention a few.
Our Government stands to enable those who can help themselves but is equally committed to supporting those who can’t. This is why we introduced our Social Investment Program which is changing lives through, school feeding, conditional cash transfers and youth employment, among others.
In Africa, Nigeria has a very unique and important role to play. We are a vast nation of nearly 200 million people, with diversity of language, culture, natural endowments and aspirations. However what we all have in common is that at all levels, Nigeria is a trading nation.
No nation can survive on its own. Trading is important and the terms of trade are important. Therefore, there is a need to ensure our national interests as well as our regional and international obligations are balanced.
Accordingly, I directed the relevant agencies to conduct intensive and extensive consultations across the nation on the Continental Free Trade Agreement. Nigeria is a Federation of 36 States plus FCT Abuja, 774 Local Governments and millions of interested stakeholders who must be consulted with and listened to, in order to ensure an optimum outcome.
Significant progress has been made in these consultations. The team have met key stakeholders across our six geo-political zones. The responses have been diverse as would be expected. However, one clear message has emerged which is that any trade agreement must be both “free’ and ‘fair’. This fairness is achievable and we will work towards it.
It is in this light, that I will like to say Congratulations to the management and Board of Directors of AFREXIM Bank for their dynamism and tenacious leadership without which the feats so far achieved would not have been possible.
Twenty five years ago, I am sure there would have been doubts as to whether Africans can truly come together to build something meaningful. The success of AFREXIM in its 25 year journey has answered this question conclusively.
It is now my pleasure to declare open the 25th General Meeting of Shareholders of the African Export-Import Bank.
I thank you all for your attention.
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