Apapa Port, Lagos

The Africa-Export Bank AFREXIMBANK has made an urgent call for the repair and upgrade of the depilating maritime infrastructure dotted over the waterways and ports in the African continent to enhance increase trade among countries in Africa.

The Afreximbank President Mr. Benedict Oramah made the call on assessment of the cause of weak and parlous intertrade among countries in Africa. He observes that the lack of holistic and united infrastructure development as against the sectional development is one factor that inhibits trade among African countries.

The lack of development of maritime infrastructure also contributes to the high cost of doing maritime business in Africa making Africa to have the highest transportation and transaction cost in the world.

Port Said, Cairo, Egypt

Calling on African countries to increase trade and investment in Africa the Managing Director of Afreximbank Intra African Trade Initiative Kayode Awani who stood in for the Mr. Oramah at the Africa Ship Owners Summit in Seychelles lamented the fact that only a few African countries have put up an adequate infrastructure for marine transport.

Awani revealed that though marine transport accounted for 92% of the continents external trade being that 92% of the continent’s imports are seaborne.

Awani revealed that only 6% of the world seaborne traffic is handled by African continent with South Africa and Egypt controlling 50% of the African angle of seaborne traffic.

Durban Port, South Africa

She made a call for investments by African countries in local shipping lines as well as the establishment of the national/domestic fleet through gradual and staggered acquisition, terminal management, freight forwarding and logistics.

“Opportunities also existed in inland waterways, cruise ship services, trans-shipment, container manufacturing and repairs, drydocking and other value-added services, such as sorting, arranging, packaging/re-packaging, cold storage, and distribution,” she added.

Dr. Benedict Oramah however, strongly advised that it is time to act and successfully promote the continent’s trade, especially the intro – African trade. The best possible way according to him is to promote local and indigenous shipping lines who will compete with the domineering shipping giants that are milking Africa dry.