Ecobank has reiterated that it remains the partner of choice in Africa for export trade because of its unique positioning, wide network, pan African payment switch, settlement capabilities, digital products and strategic focus. Kola Adeleke, Executive Director, Corporate Banking, Ecobank Nigeria, made this assertion while speaking on “African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) strategy, opportunities, challenges in export and trade,” at the Ecobank/ Nigerian Export Import Bank (NEXIM) webinar for exporters recently.
He maintained that the pan- African bank had structures in place to enable exporters exploit the opportunities in the AfCFTA. According to him, “our unique positioning in 33 African countries enables us leverage our extensive network to reduce the number of financial partners and relationships in executing trade. We own the switch connecting countries where we operate across Africa.
This centralised switch enables easy integration. We possess knowledge of the local markets in which we operate, resulting in unparalleled financial advisory. We offer real-time settlement across Africa and our customers enjoy instant transfers across 33 African countries. Ecobank has a reputation for developing innovative products as the bank has won us several international, regional and local awards and we aspire to be the gateway to pan-African payments and trade.” Adeleke reaffirmed that Nigeria was poised to gain from the investment and trade opportunities that AfCFTA will inevitably bring because of its market size, supply chain infrastructure and an abundant supply of professionals/ skilled players in various in- Waele dustries. He emphasised that businesses must strategically position themselves; endeavour to understand the dynamics of the ratification to be able to maximize the benefit and opportunities.
Adeleke, who regretted that export potential in Nigeria were largely untapped due to focus on oil revenue, reiterated that real sector credit opportunities to utilising the AfCFTA include export development financing, trade finance, export development financing and SME financing. In his presentation on export trade insurance, Bashar Garba Illo, Acting Head, Export Credit Insurance, NEXIM, said the Export Credit Insurance (ECI) was designed to protect exporters in Nigeria against the risk of non-payment for goods and services exported on credit terms with a cover against political risk, stressing that the objective of ECI is to indemnify both internal and external exporting customers from losses.
He explained that the bank’s mandate is to support non-oil export sector of manufacturing, agro-processing, solid minerals and services. Also speaking at the session, Head of Trade, Ecobank Nigeria, Chijioke Uzoukwu, said: “The bank also provides loans for business such as import loans, export loans and supply chain finance. In the trade service, we support customers from initiation to execution in the areas of documentation and compliance, working with regulatory bodies and other stakeholders. We also offer trade advisory solution like market information across Africa, trade specialist support and after sales services.