Hey guys! So, occasionally we break out of the fashion narrative at MAMMYPI to discuss some newsworthy events that are worth the buzz. For example, last week, precisely from June 2-5, 2021, the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) was held in St. Petersburg, Russia. SPIEF’s a unique event in business and economics. It has been held since 1997, focusing on the Russian economy, social issues, technological development, emerging markets, and economic issues facing the world as a whole.
After the unprecedented year 2020 with the novel COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the world, the 2020 edition of this forum was cancelled. However, this year 2021, the conference convened but, of course, in strict accordance with health and safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Afreximbank At SPIEF 2021
Participants at this year’s forum included the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), a Pan-African multilateral financial institution mandated to finance and promote intra-and extra-African trade. Afreximbank delivers financing solutions that support trade transformation in Africa, accelerating industrialization and intra-regional trade, thereby boosting economic expansion in Africa. In addition, the Bank has a rich history of intervening in support of African countries in times of crisis and is an ardent supporter of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
Pandemic Trade Impact Mitigation Facility (PATIMFA)
Celebrating its 28th Founders’ Day on May 8, 2021, Afreximbank is committed to Africa, especially in this time of crisis, to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on trade and the resulting development shortfalls. As a result of its commitment to Africa, Afreximbank launched the Pandemic Trade Impact Mitigation Facility (PATIMFA) in April 2020 and has since then disbursed more than US$6.5 billion in 2020 to help member countries manage the adverse impact of financial, economic, and health shocks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
With its total assets and guarantees estimated at a whopping US$21.5 billion and its shareholder funds at US$3.4 billion, Afreximbank has disbursed more than US$42 billion between 2016 and 2020. In fact, in March 2021, Afreximbank released its unaudited financial statements for the first quarter of 2021, showing solid and resilient growth ahead of prior year results despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bank reported a net income of US$87.3 million, a 4% increase over the 2020 performance. Boasting vital financial records, Afreximbank is a critical player in boosting trade and investment between Russia and Africa.
Production of Vaccines Against COVID-19
Speaking on the Russia-Africa Business Dialogue at SPIEF on June 3, Afreximbank’s representative, Mr Rene Awambeng, Global Head for Client Relations, outlined some of the outstanding projects that the Bank has been able to execute in collaboration with Russian support and partners.
St. Petersburg International Economic Forum SPIEF 2021
Mr Awambeng also revealed during SPIEF 2021 that Afreximbank is working to support Senegal’s Institute Pasteur to bolster the production of vaccines against COVID-19 and vaccines against other diseases on the African continent. It is worth noting that Senegal’s Institut Pasteur is the only facility in Africa currently producing a vaccine – a yellow fever shot – that is pre-qualified by the World Health Organization, which requires manufacturers to meet strict international standards.
The Significance of Manufacturing Vaccines in Africa
According to Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank:
Afreximbank, Africa CDC, AFC and the African Union all share the same vision that vaccine manufacturing in Africa will significantly impact the continent positively by guaranteeing access to critical vaccines when they are most needed and provide a basis for Research and Development on the continent. Africa is an importer of 95% of the vaccines it currently consumes. The ability to manufacture vaccines on the continent will contribute to conserving foreign exchange, creating employment and fostering the transfer of technology.Prof. Benedict O. Oramah,
Afreximbank is genuinely one of Africa’s hidden gems when it comes to trade and investments.
Let’s highlight a few of her recent accomplishments so you can understand why this institution deserves this honourable mention on our blog today.
On May 19, the Bank announced on its Facebook page that it had successfully closed a US$1.3 billion dual tenor bond issuance. This transaction is a significant milestone for Afreximbank, marking the Bank’s second time accessing the 144A US market. In addition, the bond is the Bank’s most important transaction in the debt capital markets to date.
On May 20, 2021, Afreximbank announced the Africa Quality Assurance Centre (AQAC) construction in Ogun State, Nigeria. The Centre will be a state-of-the-art facility with the capacity to offer testing, certification, inspection, and training services covering agricultural products.
African Medical Centre of Excellence (AMCE)
On June 3, 2021, Afreximbank announced its African Medical Centre of Excellence (AMCE) project in Abuja, Nigeria. The AMCE plans to offer a full range of medical services, such as diagnostics, treatment, nuclear medicine, surgery and post-surgical care, along with complementary specialist services covering oncology, haematological diseases (including sickle cell and blood cancers) and cardiovascular ailments. It will also offer education and clinical research services to build leading talent and become a top-tier quarternary-level medical facility. The AMCE will be implemented in four phases over six years, starting with a 170-bed specialist hospital before expanding to a 500-bed facility that provides world-class care to low-income patient groups across the continent.
I know some of you will be questioning why Nigeria for the AMCE. We did our homework at Mammypi, and here’s why. Nigeria was selected in 2017 as the host country for the first AMCE following a competitive bidding process in which Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania also participated. The four countries were previously identified as prospective host countries by a pre-feasibility study commissioned by Afreximbank in 2015.
Professor Benedict Oramah on AMCE
The Abuja AMCE is so timely in the continent that it will enhance access to healthcare services for 50,000 people every year and provide 3,000 jobs during its construction and operational phases. Thus, in setting up the AMCE, Afreximbank aims to provide quality healthcare, enhanced service offerings, training, expanded employment, conservation of foreign exchange in Africa and promotion of intra-African medical tourism. Professor Benedict Oramah captures the vision of the AMCE succinctly:
“The African Medical Centre of Excellence is a landmark project for Africa. Designed as an initiative under Afreximbank’s 5th Strategic Plan, we are now pleased to be concretizing our aspirations. With the successful delivery of the Abuja AMCE, the Bank will be well prepared to implement its continent-wide plan of developing a network of AMCEs across Africa and contribute its quota in improving the quality of lives of the African people. The Abuja AMCE will tackle the rising burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases, with general care capabilities that will serve the entire West Africa region and beyond. It is a demonstration project that will trigger similar medical centres across the continent”.
So guys, there you have it! Despite all the craziness going on in Africa, there sure is also some good! We are manufacturing our COVID-19 vaccine in Senegal, setting up a quality assurance centre for agricultural products in Nigeria and building the first-ever African Medical Centre of Excellence in Abuja, Nigeria, all thanks to Afrieximbank and its dynamic leadership.
Commendable work, Afreximbank team! We are proud of the work you do!
Now, let’s get back to talking fashion and lifestyle, shall we?