The CARICOM Development Fund (CDF) and the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide a framework for cooperation between the two organisations and assist with delivering services to the CARICOM Member States.
The CDF is the regional entity tasked with reducing the disparities among and within CARICOM Member States that are caused or exacerbated by economic shocks or dislocation that might result from implementing the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). Through the MoU, the CDF and Afreximbank have pledged to collaborate and explore the best possible funding options from debt and equity capital markets to support the development of critical infrastructure projects in the CARICOM region. The MoU is a clear indication of the collective effort of both organisations to increase financing opportunities for CARICOM Member States and strengthen south-south cooperation between the African continent and the Caribbean region.
Reflecting on the MoU, CEO Soomer said the Barbados-based CDF is keen to work with Afreximbank to facilitate the creation of new and exciting trade and investment opportunities for the private sector in the CARICOM region. He also urged regional small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to take advantage of the generous capacity-building assistance offered by the bank, which can help them to scale up and expand their businesses.
‘As a recently established shareholder of Afreximbank, the CDF stands in partnership with the bank to assist with its newly minted regional operations. Specifically, we aim to do so by collaborating on transactions and projects that are aligned with the strategic objectives of the Africa-Caribbean Trade Initiative and by supporting client awareness of the services that will be offered to the Caribbean private sector to enable them to do business with Africa. This partnership and commitment of the CDF’s support are affirmed through the signing of the MoU between CDF and Afreximbank’, stated CEO Soomer.
In December 2022, the Board of Directors of Afreximbank approved funding worth 1.5 billion USD to aid CARICOM Member States in accessing the bank’s financing instruments. This funding will support SMEs and various economic sectors, such as renewable energy, tourism, and agriculture.
The CDF-Afreximbank MoU, which will be in effect for a period of three years in the first instance, is another crucial step towards further deepening the relationship between the Caribbean and Africa.