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Barbados exploring trade with Africa


COLVILLE MOUNSEY

Barbados exploring trade with Africa
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley and President of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), Professor Benedict Oramah, signing the Memorandum of Understanding at Ilaro Court. (BGIS)

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Barbados has moved one step closer to its ambitions of fostering trade with the African continent, as Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley and president of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), Professor Dr Benedict Oramah, signed a memorandum of understanding that creates the framework to explore areas of investment and interest.

During a series of meetings held in the two days prior to the signing of the MOU, the delegation explored areas of cooperation, which included communication and direct air and sea link opportunities, and also discussed the need to explore opportunities for cash flow solutions for exporting firms and letters of credit.

Speaking at the signing ceremony held at Ilaro Court on Wednesday, Mottley said that much like the deal struck between CARICOM and the African Medical Platform to bulk purchase COVID-19 vaccines in an environment where small orders were being essentially ignored, there were similar prospects for other bulk procurements.

“We spoke about the fact that many of our countries have aged infrastructure for water and therefore we are securing prices on the basis of a limited and small market rather than seeing where else we can go with the bulk procurement.

“We are committed to being able to ensure that trade takes place of goods, movement of people and services, movement of information and once you can have information moving, people moving and goods moving; then we can reconnect and ensure that the embodiment of CARICOM as the sixth region of the Africa Union can be real for all of us,” Mottley said.

The Prime Minister lamented the lack of direct airlift between Africa and the Caribbean despite the deep historical and cultural connections. She described it as a travesty that centuries after the establishment of the Middle Passage the two blocs still had not found a way to bridge the divide. (CLM)