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Africans seek to trade more with one another

Published Apr 11, 2003

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Johannesburg - Africans were looking to do more business with one another on the continent. This was said at the African Investment Forum this week.

The conference was convened by the department of trade and industry, the Commonwealth Business Council (CBC) and the secretariat for the New Partnership for Africa's Development. About 500 delegates attended.

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Emmanuel Mayaki, the group head for corporate finance at Nigerian-based Guardian Express Bank, said he attended the conference because he wanted to meet the local big banks.

"In Nigeria we have a whole lot of megaprojects in the next two to three years. Usually we link up with European banks, but we want to meet with African banks and finance these projects intracontinentally."

One of the projects Mayaki said would need financing was a three-phase steel project, which would be built by US and Russian companies.

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"The first phase alone will cost $1.2 billion. When it is completed it will be the largest steel project in Africa."

There were Canadian companies that would be doing bitumen exploration, which, over the next five years, would get $2.3 billion sunk into it. "We're hoping this money will come from Africa. We want African banks to have the opportunity," Mayaki said.

Sandeep Bahl, the marketing manager for the CBC, said it would take time to collate all the information on the deals done.

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But he did mention a couple of the projects brokered at the three-day conference: a Lesotho-based company had been looking for a partner in a bottled water project; a regional air transport deal worth about $50 million was discussed; and regional power projects were discussed with a Russian company.

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