Shareholders of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) have voted Dr Benedict Okey Oramah as their new president at the bank’s AGM in Zambia.

He replaces Jean-Louis Ekra, who has completed two five-year terms.

Oramah, a Nigerian national, has served as executive vice-president in charge of business development and corporate banking at Afreximbank since 2008. He joined the bank from the Nigerian Export-Import Bank in 1994 as chief analyst.

Speaking at a press conference in Zambia on Saturday, Oramah told GTR that, under his leadership, the bank will continue to lay emphasis on promoting intra-regional trade and encourage the transformation of the export sector by developing capacities for commodity processing.

Ekra will stay with the bank until September to complete the handover to Oramah. After that, he will return to the Ivory Coast, his home country. “My intention is to continue to serve the continent in whatever capacity, because the challenge of the continent does not require only one person to be in one position to help transform the structure of our African economies,” he told GTR on the weekend. “I believe I have accumulated sufficient experience not to be idle.”

Oramah’s appointment followed a recommendation by the bank’s board of directors. The formal selection process for the new president began in January 2015 with the publication of a call for applications in the international media and on the Afreximbank website. Applicants were subsequently shortlisted and interviewed in a process managed by an international human resources consulting firm. The names of the four top candidates were forwarded to the board of directors which then recommended the preferred candidate to the AGM of shareholders.