The Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM Bank) has received a financial grant of $302,000 (about N60m) from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to further promote the establishment of a regional maritime company, the Sealink project which NEXIM Bank is at its forefront.
The grant, which was released under the Nigerian Technical Cooperation Fund (NTCF) managed by AfDB, will be used to conduct further feasibility studies on the project to extend it to the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).
It will also be utilised in enhancing the Sealink promotional activities and assist in the development of human capital and corporate governance structure of the Sealink Promotional Company Limited (SPV) which was incorporated to facilitate the project implementation.
The Sealink project aims to promote intra and inter-African trade, thus fostering regional integration, economic growth and development in the West and Central African sub-regions.
It is accordingly in line with the federal government’s reform policy on trade and transport as articulated in the regional trade component of the new trade policy.
A statement from the NEXIM Bank in Abuja quoted its Managing Director, Robert Orya to have said at the grant signing ceremony that it was a confirmation of the government’s confidence in the activities of the bank.
Orya noted that the project’s promotional SPV is being promoted by the Federation of West African Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FEWACCI), NEXIM and Transimex, S. A, Cameron.
He took the opportunity of the signing ceremony to give an update on the project, saying that the project is a private sector-driven project and that NEXIM Bank is only facilitating its establishment in line with its mandate, as the trade policy bank of Nigeria, to promote and deepen non-oil sector export trade.
He equally indicated that the project’s promotional phase and capital raising exercise are still ongoing with a pilot implementation phase expected to commence in the Quarter 2 (Q2) of 2015; while full project implementation would be initiated by the Q4 2015.
Orya reiterated that the Sealink project would assist in regional integration by mitigating some of the non-tariff barriers in intra/inter-regional trade in Africa.
Also speaking, the Resident Representative for AfDB Group in Nigeria, Mr. Ousmane Dore, reiterated AfDB’s commitment to promoting infrastructure development in Africa as being in line with the bank’s overarching objective to spur sustainable economic development, social progress and poverty reduction in the regional member countries.
Also, the Acting Director-General of the Directorate of Technical Cooperation in Africa (DTCA), Mr. Suleiman Shuaibu, stated that the aim of his Directorate (which is under the ministry of foreign affairs) is to enhance Africa’s development and integration by creating the enabling environment and opportunity for Nigerian professionals and indeed those of African descent to invest their immense intellect, expertise and skills in the economies of Africa towards bridging the widening economic and scientific gap between Africa and the rest of the world.
The statement added that the board and management of NEXIM Bank, other relevant stakeholders such as ECOWAS and its Parliament, federal ministries of finance, industry, trade and investment, as well as transport and Nigerian Shippers’ Council, amongst others are fully in support of the Sealink project.