Improved airlines key to boosting low intra Africa trade

Africa suffers low trade due to the lack of infrastructure such as rail, road, airports and sea ports that would be used to move huge amounts of move goods and services.

This has hampered the growth of African countries as they cannot take advantage of the existing trade blocks, and according to the Africa Export and Import Bank (AFREXIMBAMK) client relations, global head Rene Awambeng, the situation must be changed through investing in infrastructure.

He said Africa can only handle 18 per cent of its intra-continental business, due to undeveloped infrastructure.

Speaking at a Nairobi hotel on Monday during a presentation of the new Russian made SUKHOI 100 passenger capacity aircraft, Awambeng said that as a bank they consider aviation industry as very critical pillar of intra African trade.

Sometimes traveling from one African country to another, you have to travel to Paris, then connect to your destination, Awambeng explained insisting that if they facilitate the financing of infrastructure then more airplanes will mean easy movement of goods and services in the continent.

He said that working with the Russian government, they have put in place financing for public and private players who would want to purchase these aircrafts and currently they have one African country, that has already ordered four commercial aircraft and the Russians have provided export credit financing for them.

We have also discovered it is important to establish a leasing platform and we are working with our Russian and African partners to develop that platform to support the aviation industry in this continent, said Awambeng.

SUKHOI civil aircraft senior vice president Evegeny Andrachnikov said that they have kept themselves busy conquering other parts of the world and this is time for them to enter Africa.

Andrachnikov said that the infrastructure in Africa is getting developed and the consumer power, is there but the point to point connections in this part of the world is not well structured.

The deputy Russian chancellor to Kenya Alexi Bashelo said that Kenya is the third largest trade partner to Russia in the South of Sahara, adding that the trade volumes are equally balanced at 50-50.

With roughly a trade of USD.300 million our reliable and significant trade partnership is well balanced. We buy traditional Kenyan exports that is tea, flowers, and coffee while we sell to you grains, fertilizer and other chemical products but what we want to offer to you now are sophisticated machines like the aircrafts, he said.

Source: Kenya News Agency