Kigali, 1 July 2017

I am very pleased to welcome you all to Rwanda. I trust that you’ve had a productive and enjoyable stay here. I also wish to thank Afreximbank for allowing and enabling us to be the host this meeting.

Let me start by acknowledging the significance of a primarily African-owned institution, serving the needs of African businesses and economies.

It is important to celebrate our successes.

For the last two decades, AfreximBank has been raising money, financing strategic projects and contributing to Africa’s pursuit of prosperity, and independence.

I thank you for your valuable partnership and support.

We still have a long way to go, and more work to do, to strengthen continental integration and raise the share of intra-African trade, which at 15%, is unacceptably low.

Africa needs to be more resilient in the face of consistent global shocks and increasing protectionism.

Too often, we find ourselves at a disadvantage when negotiating trade with other parts of the world.

And within all this, there is the ever increasing need for Africa to industrialise.

These factors should not just remain objects of reference.

Instead, they should drive us to urgently increase trade with each other, invest more within our countries and regions, and build joint infrastructure, in order to better facilitate the movement of people and goods within Africa.

Governments and the private sector should make the most of possibilities offered by Afreximbank, which has established the facilities, expertise, and productive relationships with external funding partners.

I understand that other African financial institutions are represented at this meeting. I trust that you will continue to collaborate closely to multiply the impact of your efforts.

But trade depends on more than finance. Many trade facilitation efforts require little more than political will.

We have examples in some regions where removal of barriers to trade have greatly improved the business environment.

These lessons need to be shared more widely across the continent so that Africans can reap the full benefits of integration.

Finally, the African Union, in the ongoing institutional reforms, will focus on key priorities, with other responsibilities going to regional organisations.

This presents opportunities for institutions like Afreximbank to play an even more robust role in supporting the continent’s shared goals.

However, there is a fundamental element in these reforms that the African Union is undertaking, and in general, the efforts we are all investing to develop our continent. And that is a mindset for success. Above all, there is a need for that mindset change.

We will succeed if we believe that Africa deserves it, that we have the capacity to do what needs to be done, and that unity and collaboration is the best way to get results.

Once again, I thank Afreximbank for your service to the continent and wish you success in this  mission that we share with you.

Thank you.