PM Davis: Afreximbank Meeting in The Bahamas – a new chapter in diasporic partnership, “where our collective strength is recognized as the tide that will lift all boats”

Dr. Benedict Oramah and Prime Minister Philip Davis KC.

NASSAU, The Bahamas – During his remarks at the Government of The Bahamas and the African Export-Import Bank Signing Ceremony for the Hosting Agreement for the 31st African Export-Import Bank Annual Meetings (2024), Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis said that it was “an important first for The Bahamas, as well as for Africa-Caribbean relations.”

“It reminds me of the profound potential buried within our diaspora that I spoke of just a few weeks ago at the Bank of Botswana – what I said: A potential shaped by our collective history, a bloodline of resilience, and the shared spirit that binds the African continent and The Bahamas’,” Prime Minister Davis pointed out at the ceremony held at the Baha Mar Convention Centre, April 11, 2024.

“In recognition of this new chapter in diasporic partnership, today, it is with immense pride, we officially sign the agreement for The Bahamas to host the African Export-Import Bank’s Annual General Meeting this coming June,” he added.

Prime Minister Davis noted that their ancestral history was marked by strength in the face of adversity, beauty and creativity,” even amid scarcity, and a relentless pursuit of self-determination”.

“In the Caribbean, our forebears, who traversed the vast expanses of the Atlantic – not by choice but by force – today, unite us in a cause that is far greater than the ocean that separates us,” he said.  “Their dreams, their struggles, and their hopes are encapsulated in this moment, as we, their descendants, forge a future where Africa and The Caribbean stand shoulder to shoulder, not just in solidarity, but in economic collaboration for mutual prosperity.”

He added: “This AGM meeting in The Bahamas is a symbol of what we can accomplish through unity and collaboration.  In today’s world, amid economic and environmental challenges, we choose collective advancement over self-preservation.  Instead of building walls, we choose instead to build bridges—bridges of trade, innovation, financial integration, and, most importantly, bridges connecting our people and cultures.”

Prime Minister Davis said that, as The Bahamas prepared to “welcome the continent of Africa to our shores”, his Government was reaffirming a vision where their economies were intertwined in support of one another, “where the barriers that have historically divided us are dismantled, and where our collective strength is recognized as the tide that will lift all boats”.

“Our commitment to this vision is underscored by the preparations underway to ensure the AGM serves as a forum for dialogue and a catalyst for tangible deliberations and impactful collaborations,” he stated.  “We are setting the stage for discussions to aid us in navigating the challenges of our times, including climate resilience, financial inclusivity, and the digital transformation of our economies.”

“To the African Export-Import Bank, our partners, we extend our deepest gratitude for entrusting us with the honour of hosting this significant event,” he added.

“Together, we are celebrating the spirit of partnership. We are commemorating a union of dreams: the dreams of our ancestors and the dreams of future generations that we pledge to realize through unity, collaboration, and mutual respect.”

Prime Minister Davis pointed out that, in November 2022, The Bahamas, along with other Caribbean states, participated in an historic moment with the African Export-Import Bank.

“We signed a document that promised to forge a future where the Caribbean and Africa moved forward cooperatively, to work toward the advancement of our peoples and our economies,” he said.

He added:  “The Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Government of The Bahamas and Afreximbank was the beginning of an extraordinary partnership, one that sees The Bahamas, as well as its sister Caribbean states, establishing a deep and meaningful partnership with Afreximbank.”

Prime Minister Davis pointed out that that relationship was “pioneering”; and that it was founded on “the principles of trade between us members of the Global South, a testament to our ability to work together to develop our own opportunities and our solutions.”

“In keeping with its mission, Afreximbank’s commitment to expanding operations into the Caribbean through the establishment of the Caribbean Exim Bank is an example of the potential for development in our region,” he said.

“Afreximbank foreshadows an investment of US$700 million in the Caribbean, a bold statement of faith in our collective future,” Prime Minister Davis noted.  “It is a future in which the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) can unlock much-needed economic and social benefits.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, as we look forward and toward the horizon, we must look beyond today’s challenges to tomorrow’s opportunities.

“This Annual General Meeting in The Bahamas will be remembered for the decisions made and agreements signed, but also, more significantly, as the moment when Africa and The Caribbean came together for a better future.”

Afreximbank President and Chairman of Board of Directors, Prof. Benedict Oramah (standing second left) accompanied by The Honourable Philip Davis, K.C, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas (standing right) watch as Anne Ezeh, Director Communications and Events, Afreximbank and Creswell Sturrup, Permanent Secretary in the Office of Prime Minister, Government of Commonwealth of The Bahamas sign the Agreement for The Bahamas to host the 31st Afreximbank Annual Meetings (AAM) and the third edition of the AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF)