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President John Mahama has urged the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) to further strengthen its trade finance support to the Ghanaian business sector, particularly in the areas of agro-processing and pharmaceuticals.

The President, who made the call when Dr Benedict Oramah, the President-designate of the bank, paid a courtesy call on him, also highlighted the increasingly important roles of those sectors in the country?s economy and also called on the bank to increase its involvement in the country?s manufacturing, construction, renewable energy and other key sectors.

In a release issued in Accra yesterday, President Mahama commended Dr Oramah on his appointment as the next president of the bank and pledged Ghana?s continued commitment to working with Afreximbank to achieve its objective of promoting intra and extra-African trade.

Earlier, Dr Oramah, according to the release, announced that Afreximbank had approved financing totalling about $2 billion for the Ghanaian government, corporate and financial institutions since 1993, with annual approvals increasing from $6.5 million in 1994 to $280 million in 2014.

?As of October 2014, Ghana was the sixth largest beneficiary of the bank?s funding programmes,? the release quoted Dr Oramah, who noted that the support had been mainly directed towards the energy, financial, agro-processing and industrial development sectors and to the promotion of higher local value addition in Ghana?s extractive industries.

He added that the credit facilities provided by the bank included a $150 million loan facility to the Volta River Authority (VRA) to support capacity expansion and refurbishment activities and a further $300 million facility under negotiation; $70 million to a Ghanaian company to enable it to offer mining and engineering services to international mining companies; $100 million to the Bank of Ghana to address short-term liquidity challenges; and $70 million to two Ghanaian-owned cocoa processing companies.

The release said Dr Oramah announced that Afreximbank was considering a framework to scale-up its intervention in the Ghanaian economy in recognition of the opportunities offered by the relatively stable socio-political and economic environment.

?The package shall include foreign exchange liquidity support to facilitate essential imports and deal with the transitory challenges as well as term funding to strategic sectors towards the realisation of the country?s long-term development agenda,? he explained.

Dr Oramah was accompanied on the visit by Mr Kofi Adomakoh, the Director of Afreximbank?s Project and Export Development Finance Department, and Joy Albright of the Legal Department.

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