Afreximbank’s Awani Gets ADAB Award For Promoting Intra-African Trade


The Executive Vice President of the Intra-African Trade Bank at the Africa Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), Kanayo Awani, has received the African Diaspora Advisory Board (ADAB) Global Woman Award in Washington, D.C.

Mrs. Awani was awarded for her work in promoting intra-African trade, according to a statement made available by the Afreximbank on Thursday, March 14, 2024.

In a citation presented at the ceremony, Mrs. Awani was recognised for her dedication, visionary leadership, and remarkable impact in promoting intra-African trade.

The Global Woman Award celebrates exceptional women of African descent who have made significant contributions to global communities. The Award honours women’s outstanding achievements, leadership, and positive impact on various spheres in fostering empowerment and inspiration within the African diaspora and beyond. It serves as a testament to the resilience, innovation, and influence of the remarkable women on a global scale.

Accepting the award, Mrs. Awani paid tribute to the spirit of unrelenting commitment to Africa which underpinned Afreximbank’s work.
She referred to their conviction at the Bank that: “Intra-African trade and the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) offers Africa the opportunity to reverse engineer the colonial strategy that fragmented our economies and resigned Africa to the periphery of the global economy”.

She lamented that despite Africa’s enormous riches, the continent exported jobs and relinquished its development ambitions to others, stating that Afreximbank was committed to rectifying that situation and ensuring that Africa took its development ambitions into its own hands.

“We recognize that there is no reason why a continent that accounts for 18 per cent of the world’s population should only account for three per cent of global trade; or why a continent which accounts for over US$ 1 trillion dollars in trade, trades so little with itself; or why the payment for goods and services among African neighbours must be routed through banks outside our continent”, she added.

For that reason, Afreximbank was aggressively supporting intra-African trade and implementation of the AfCFTA, disbursing about US$40 billion in support of trade and investments since 2016.

Recognising that a unified global African community held the key to uplifting and dignifying individuals of African descent across the globe and that “our interconnectedness, both commercially and culturally, as a global African family, will play a pivotal role in addressing the unique challenges we face in our collective development journey”, Afreximbank had purposefully broadened its understanding of intra-African trade to encompass not only commerce between African nations but also trade involving Africans worldwide,” she said.

As part of its Diaspora strategy, the Bank has launched the Afreximbank Africa Diaspora Center, in partnership with the Africa Center in New York. 11 Caribbean Community Member States have joined the Bank as Participating Member States, and the Bank has opened in Barbados, its regional office for the Caribbean.

Stating that much more still needed to be done to fully harness the power of Global African trade, Mrs. Awani called for continued advocacy for policies that support entrepreneurship, innovation, and investment, adding that women must be empowered to actively participate in trade to ensure that they had equal access to resources and opportunities.

In another development, Mrs. Awani has also received the “Titan of Industry” by Canada-based African Union Sixth Region Global (AU6RG) for her “exceptional contributions and groundbreaking achievements as an Executive Vice President of Afreximbank”.

In a citation at the event, Mrs. Awani’s remarkable leadership was lauded as being instrumental in driving economic development initiatives that have propelled Afreximbank to new heights and positively impacted the broader global economic landscape.

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