By: Kebba AF Touray
Sidia Jatta, the Member for Wuli West Constituency and Chairperson of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, has told his colleague deputies at the National Assembly that the Africa Export-Import Bank (AFRExIM Bank) will widen Gambia’s foreign trade.
Jatta made this disclosure yesterday June 22nd at the National Assembly, while presenting the Committee’s report on the conferment of diplomatic status and immunities on the Bank, for parliamentary scrutiny and adoption.
Jatta said the committee has observed that over five decades of African independence has not improved the continent’s conduct in its foreign trade, due to failure to succeed in transforming its position of producers of raw materials and importers, to manufacturers and exporters.
These aspects he said, has fettered Africa’s development and accounts for the impoverishment of the African people, since the continent only exports untransformed products whose prices are determined by those who buy, manufacture and export them back to us; that in the quest to fundamentally change the status quo for African economic development, there is need for the creation of AFRExIMBANK to address the negative factors which continue to militate against the development of both inter African and export trade.
Sidia cited the negative factors that the Bank has to address such as the deterioration of the terms of trade, declining export prices, incessant external debts, lack of inadequacy of finance facilities and ceaseless rising of the cost of trade credit; that in order to promote and increase Intra-African and Export Trade and to stimulate the continent’s economic development, it was felt that this can best be achieved through the creation of the Bank, to provide and mobilize the required financial resources.
Jatta highlighted that the objectives of the Bank include extending direct and indirect short term credit to eligible African exporters; to promote and finance Intra-African Trade and non-traditional African goods and services and to promote and finance South-South trade between Africa and other countries.
He underscored that the benefits Gambia will derive from the Bank includes the opening of new opportunities for Gambian exporters and importers; ease legal processes in accessing such financial institutions; facilitate and widen the scope of Gambia’s foreign trade; create the possibilities of transformative processes in terms of value addition for new Gambian products for trade; enhance job creation and revenue generation and stimulate and propel economic development.
“In light of the foregoing, the committee recommends that the Bank be granted diplomatic status and immunity to render its existence more secure in countries to the agreement,” he said.
Lawmakers during the debate gave their support to the motion and urged that the agenda of AFRExIMBANK be transformative, with focus on goods to be produced and exported, so as to provide remedies to the negative factors that militate against the development of both Inter-African and Export trade.
Subsequently, the motion got legislative approval and adoption of the Bank’s Diplomatic Status and Immunity in the pursuit to promote Intra-African and export Trade.