South Sudan, Africa’s youngest country, has become the latest country to join the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) as a participating state.
Stephen Dhieu Dau, Minister of Finance and Planning of South Sudan, formalized the country’s membership of the continental trade finance bank today in Juba by signing the instrument of accession to the Agreement Establishing the Bank. The signing of the instrument commits South Sudan to take all necessary steps for the ratification of the Establishment Agreement.
The accession follows moves initiated by South Sudan on Saturday when a delegation led by Mou Ambrose Thiik, the Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, met in Cairo with an Afreximbank team for discussions to clear the way for the country’s immediate membership.
At the discussions, which took place on the sidelines of the meeting of the Bank’s Board of Directors, Mr. Thiik said that South Sudan was determined to accomplish the membership in a speedy manner and that the country considered it a milestone to be part of Afreximbank.
Dr. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank, had told the delegation that membership of the Bank would give South Sudan automatic access to the full range of products and facilities offered by Afreximbank, including trade finance facilities, project finance services, trade information and advisory services, support in the development of a local content policy and assistance in developing and implementing industrial parks and special economic zones.
Under its terms of the Agreement on the Establishment of the African Export-Import Bank, signed in Abidjan on 8 May 1993, countries that did not sign before it entered into force are required to first issue an instrument of acceptance and accession and then to formally ratify the Agreement in order to fully activate their membership of the Bank.
Current Afreximbank participating states include Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, and Lesotho. Others are Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Sao Tome and Principe, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Participating states become shareholders when they acquire shares in the Bank. Afreximbank shareholders are a mix of public and private entities divided into four classes and consist of African governments, central banks, regional and sub-regional institutions, private investors and financial institutions, as well as non-African financial institutions, export credit agencies and private investors.
Class A shareholders are African states, African central banks and African public institutions, including the African Development Bank, while Class “B” is made up of African financial institutions and African private investors.
Class C shares are held by non-African investors, mostly international banks and export credit agencies, including Standard Chartered Bank, HSBC, Citibank, China Exim Bank and Exim India.
Class D shares, a tier approved in December 2012, are fully paid par value shares that can be held by any investor.