The Africa Exim Bank regional headquarters, set to be based in Barbados, will open on August 4, 2023.
This was disclosed by Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley during a news conference on Thursday.
Mottley described the decision of the Bank to choose Barbados as its headquarters as an honour.
“The Africa Exim Bank has chosen Barbados as its regional headquarters, and we are thrilled to be hosting them. We are currently working towards the opening ceremony, and they have already selected an office space and are making the necessary preparations to become fully functional,” Prime Minister Mottley stated.
She said that Africa Exim Bank has allocated funding, amounting to US $1.5 billion to finance public and private sector projects across the region. She also emphasised the potential for significant technical assistance.
“One of the major benefits is the pilot scheme to facilitate our utilisation of the Pan-African Payments and Settlement System. This will have a profound impact on our ability to conduct trade and make transactions. It reduces the need for large amounts of hard currency and simplifies the process,” Prime Minister Mottley explained.
She noted that the payment system offered by the Africa Exim Bank would provide an underpinning and backstop, similar to their operations in Africa. This arrangement would streamline trade by netting off transactions and minimising the need for extensive foreign currency exchanges.
“In essence, we will be able to settle our debts by netting off trade balances and paying only the difference in hard currency. This will significantly reduce the absolute amount of US dollars required, making a tremendous difference for our region,” Prime Minister Mottley elaborated.
She is hoping that other CARICOM countries would join the initiative in the coming months, which would further amplify the financial support available. (AL)