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, award winning 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 Ecobank/Nigerian Export Import Bank (NEXIM) webinar for exporters on Thursday. He maintained that the pan African bank has structures in place to enable exporters exploit the opportunities in The African Continental Free Trade Area (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 centralized switch enables easy integration. We possess knowledge of the local markets in which we operate resulting in unparallel 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.”
Mr Adeleke reaffirmed that Nigeria is poised to gain from the investment and trade opportunities that the AfCFTA will inevitably bring because of its market size, supply chain infrastructure and an abundant supply of professionals/skilled players in various industries. He emphasized 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 potentials in Nigeria is largely untapped due to focus on oil revenues, reiterated that real sector credit opportunities to utilizing the AfCFTA includes 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) is 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 incurred from any payment default that could arise from political events in the export destination country by providing cover up to 80% of the value of receivables, subject to the Risk Asset Acceptance Criteria (RAAC) outlined for Political Risk. He explained that the Bank’s mandate is to support non-oil export sector of Manufacturing, Agro-processing, Solid Mineral and Services.
Also at the session was Chijioke Uzoukwu, Head of Trade, Ecobank Nigeria, who listed the Ecobank products and services on offer to support Export Trade as comprising letters of credit, bonds, guarantees as well as bills for collections avalization. He 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. We have an electronic e-trade platform which provides an electronic frontend where the customers can initiate transactions and instruction from the comfort of their home and it will be delivered to the Bank. We also have various collection channels to optimize collections for business like in-branch products, Mobile App, POS, Web/ Online collection platforms, Ecobank Pay, Omniplus and Omni lite. The Omni plus has the capability to allow you to make bulk payments and also view your accounts with other banks in a single platform.”
The webinar was a one day event organised by Ecobank in partnership with the Nigerian Export Import Bank (NEXIM) with the focus on sharing opportunities AfCFTA offers to Exporters. The event was an expose of the whole gamut of exports as it relates to credit insurance and how small and medium enterprises could benefit from export business taking advantage of the AfCFTA.