The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) plans to introduce a mobile payment platform to support intra-African trade and payments, according to Bank President Jean-Louis Ekra.
President Ekra said at the opening of Afreximbank’s annual Seminar/Workshop on the Fundamentals of Structured Trade Finance in Lusaka, Zambia, Tuesday, that the successful introduction of the initiative would bring over US$50 billion of informal regional trade, which currently takes place on the continent, into the formal sector, with attendant benefits to governments, businesses and trade financiers.
He said Afreximbank was working with Econet Wireless Group to develop and introduce the platform, noting that mobile technology had become one of the most important instruments for the conduct of financial transactions in Africa and globally and was seen by trade practitioners as a potential instrument for supporting cross border trade and financial flows.
The President said the Structured Trade Finance Seminar/Workshop and other events organised by the Bank were aimed at contributing to efforts to address the trade and project finance challenges facing Africa and, in so doing, supporting trade and economic development on the continent over the long run.
Dr. Michael Gondwe, Governor of the Bank of Zambia, who opened the seminar/workshop, said as Africa strove to position itself as an economic powerhouse in the years to come, it must invest in appropriate technical knowledge and skills to support its current economic growth renaissance and further enhance development prospects.
Noting the central role of trade and development in Africa’s economic revival, Dr. Gondwe said banks had an important role to play in fostering cross-border trade, hence the need to have a breed of banks with the right knowledge and skills to support African traders in their cross-border transactions.
Also speaking, Dr. Henriquie de Azevedo, Head of Export Credit Division, Business in Africa of the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES), said with Brazil accounting for the largest concentration of people of African descent outside Africa, there was the need to strengthen financial and business connections between Africa and Brazil.
According to the Cairo-based Afreximbank, the seminar/workshop aims to equip African banks and bankers to deal with risks in financing trade and supply chain under difficult politico-economic environments and changing trade counterparties