Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, has commended the African Export-Import Bank (AFREXIM) for its efforts in stimulating and developing African trade, including its many engagements in Nigeria.
Prof. Osinbajo made the observation yesterday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, while interacting with a delegation from the bank led by its President, Prof. Benedict Oramah.
Speaking after receiving a brief on the bank’s activities as well as ongoing projects in the country, the Vice President expressed satisfaction with the work done by the bank and the interest shown in areas such as health infrastructure, trade facilitation and tourism, among others.
According to a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice president, Laolu Akande quoted Oramah to have said that AFREXIM was investing in trade and health infrastructure, and also involved in the procurement and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to African countries including Nigeria, to enable the continent to achieve herd immunity.
The statement further said that the bank is also planning to establish National Quality Assurance Centres in parts of the country in order to support and upgrade the export of commodities from Nigeria.
Referencing the planned establishment of quality assurance centres across the country, Prof Osinbajo said it was important because “one of the problems we have had with our exports is really this problem of quality assurance and making sure that we have the facilities to test our export products and get all of our agencies working together. I am sure that you have SON, NAFDAC, and all of our agencies working with you on this project.”
While thanking the bank for its support, the Vice President noted that the Federal Government’s programmes in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector, particularly in the Shared Facility Initiative under the National MSMEs Clinic, were important and deserving of AFREXIM’s backing.
He said the initiative which was implemented in collaboration with state governments and aimed at developing manufacturing clusters across the country, could be enhanced through a partnership with the bank.
Earlier in his presentation on some of the bank’s projects across Nigeria, Prof. Oramah said AFREXIM has plans of investing in important sectors of the Nigerian economy including health, citing plans to build a world-class tertiary hospital and health park in Abuja.
He said the 500-bed state-of-the-art hospital will be developed in collaboration with Kings College Hospital in the UK, and other partners.
The CEO also disclosed an arrangement under the AFREXIM Bank facility to deliver 40 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines to Nigeria over a short period of time.
He added that the bank was committed to ensuring that the continent achieved herd immunity by vaccinating about 60% of Africa’s population against the disease.
Recall that the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, had announced in June this year that Nigeria was expecting 29 million Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccines between June and July.
Also last week, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) announced the arrival of the first batch of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the country.