By Bakary Ceesay
The Gambian lawmakers have approved the diplomatic status, immunities and privileges to the officials of the African Export-Import Bank on Monday.
The Afreximbank vision is to stimulate a consistent expansion, diversification and development of African trade, while operating as a first class, profit-oriented, socially responsible financial institution and a centre of excellence in African trade matters.
The bank also seeks to “promote Intra-African Trade,” “Facilitate Industrialization and Export Development,” “Strengthen Trade Finance Leadership” and “Improve Financial Performance and Soundness”.
The motion was tabled by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Relations and Gambians Abroad Dr Mamadou Tangara and moved by the Chairperson of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs Sidia Jatta.
“This is a big food for thought for us. For 50 years or more we have been here as independent sovereign nations and we still go around the world begging, and we still go around importing from the rest of the world what we can provide ourselves,” the veteran politician commented as he showed appreciation to the initiative.
He recalled the vision of an African great Kwame Nkuruma about making an African Central Bank and African Investment Bank.
“He [Nkuruma] was strategically talking about this situation. The Central Bank would mean African common currency and we would not have to be having all the valueless currencies in all these countries.”
The Wuli East MP added that the bank has come precisely for value addition to promote intra-African trade and that would mean that Africa is now having its product for export.
“If we had had an African central Bank or African common currency probably, we would have been able to do such a thing but that is absent.”
Sidia believes that the afreximbank will create an enabling environment for transformation, reason they are talking about African products.
The Foreign Minister Tangara said African countries have now decided to take control of their economies.
“The banks shall be an international institution with full judicial personality under the laws of the state’s parties,” he said reacting to concerns of possible immunities raised by members.
He said immunity doesn’t mean that international staff of the bank will not be subjected to national laws of a country.
“It’s important for us to go back to the drawing board and think strategically and see how we can break the beast of circle of development because Africa is too rich to be poor.”
According to him, independence cannot be completed without being in control of economies as political independence would not give full independence.
Both the report of the standing committee on foreign affairs and the agreement for the conferment of diplomatic status, immunities and privileges were subsequently approved to the African Import-Export Bank in The Gambia.