By Moses Akagwe
LESS than one month after the former Agriculture Minister, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, assumed duty as the President of the African Development Bank Group, Nigeria’s image will, once again, glow abroad with the investiture of Dr. Benedict Okechukwu Oramah as the third President of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank).
Oramah’s investiture will be performed today at Afreximbank’s headquarters in Cairo, Egypt by Alexander Chikwanda, Minister of Finance of Zambia and Chairman of the General Meeting of Shareholders of the bank.
The very distinguished banker was named the President by the shareholders of the continental multilateral trade finance institution at the 22nd Annual General Meeting held on June 13, 2015, in Lusaka, Zambia.
He takes over from Jean-Louis Ekra, who has been the bank’s chief executive officer since 2005. Ekra succeeded Christopher Edordu, the pioneer President.
Nigeria is expected to be represented at the ceremony by a high level delegation, while Dr. Akinwumi Adesina will, along with financial experts and economists from across Africa, discuss The Relevance of Regional Financial Institutions as part of the investiture.
The speakers include the Ivoirian Minister of Budget, Abdourahmane Cissé; Governor, Central Bank of Egypt, Hisham Ramez; and Managing Director, Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, Dr. Sidi Ould Tah, while the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Dr. Carlos Lopes, is the moderator.
Yesterday, to commission Afreximbank headquarters, Nigeria’s former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, was scheduled to speak on the theme The Implications of Building a Global Multilateral Exim Bank with former President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Babacar Ndiaye and Christopher Edordu, as other members of the discussion panel.
A holder of a 1983 B.Sc. degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Ibadan, Oramah obtained an M.Sc. and a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics, from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, in 1987 and 1991.
He started his banking career with the Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) as an Assistant Manager (Research), before moving to Afreximbank in 1994 as a Chief Analyst, rising through the ranks to the Assistant Director (Planning & Business Development) and later the Deputy Director (Planning & Business Development).
In 2007, he was elevated to the position of Director (Planning & Business Development); Senior Director (Planning & Business Development); and eventually Executive Vice President, in charge of Business Development and Corporate Banking.
In that position, he was responsible for the leadership and supervision of all origination and research activities of the bank and had supervisory responsibilities for the Afreximbank’s Trade Finance and Branches; Project and Export Development Finance; Syndications and Specialized Finance; and Research and Knowledge Management departments.
He also assisted the President in supervising the Department of Strategy and International Cooperation and was in the board of directors in an ex-officio capacity.
Since 1995, Dr. Oramah has been a regular speaker at UNCTAD’s (United Nation’s Conference on Trade and Development) Annual African Oil & Gas Conference and has been a regular resource person at major trade finance conferences across the world.
The new Afreximbank President has written more than 30 articles dealing with a range of African economic and trade-related matters, some of which have appeared in leading international journals.
Oramah is the Chairperson of the Africa Chapter of the International Factors Group (IFG), as well as a member of the board of group (IFG); the editorial board of the Journal of African Trade (JAT), the editorial board of the Trade and Forfaiting Review (TFR); and the consultative board on the World Cocoa Economy of the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO).
Born on July 24, 1961, Oramah hails from Anambra state, and is married with three daughters.
He has been honoured with many awards, distinctions and board memberships and he has been credited with immense contributions to Afreximbank’s corporate objectives at the operational and policy levels.
In 2010, he was named the recipient of Afreximbank’s Outstanding Staff Award, “for his invaluable contribution to the establishment of the fundamental operating, as well as policy systems, of the bank, and for his invaluable contribution in ensuring the financial viability and institutional stability of the organization during a long period of a combined major financial and institutional crisis”.
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