The Ecobank Group has unveiled its ‘Ecobank Single Market Trade Hub’ as part of its commitment to promoting intra-Africa trade.
The hub is live with over 300 businesses from 22 countries having signed onto the digital platform so far.
It connects traders across Africa, within the 1.4 billion-people single-market framework of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Ecobank said the hub is a cutting-edge digital platform, which serves as an exchange and information repository, designed to respond to the evolving trading needs of SMEs and corporates within Africa's single market.
It reduces the asymmetry in trade information and in this connection, leverages Ecobank’s wide client base and network advantage, through its presence in 35 African markets.
Mr Jeremy Awori, Chief Executive Officer, Ecobank Group, said: “AfCFTA has created an immense opportunity for African businesses. As the pan-African bank with the most extensive coverage of Africa, Ecobank is perfectly placed to provide trade, information and payment solutions to support SMEs and corporates seeking to capitalize on the single market. The Ecobank Single Market Trade Hub is a new and remarkable addition to our portfolio of omni-channels, empowering businesses to thrive within Africa's single market.”
The hub offers the following essential features and services:
· • MyTradeHub: An online match-making platform, enabling importers and exporters to create their company profiles, exhibit their goods and services, and connect with buyers and suppliers across Africa.
· • AfCFTA expertise: A valuable repository of knowledge and information on the African Continental Free Trade Area, to help SMEs and corporates to familiarize themselves with the single market and ways to expand their trade into new African markets.
· • Trade and Payment Solutions: A gateway into Ecobank's full range of products and digital solutions, including trade finance and services, cash management solutions (including RapidCollect), domestic and cross-border payments, investment banking, Capex financing, and more.
Mr Souleymane Diagne, Group Head Trade, Ecobank Group, added: “The AfCFTA has revolutionised the African business landscape and the Ecobank Single Market Trade Hub, within this context, is an enabler of intra-African trade through catalysing partnerships and facilitating African businesses’ access to new markets. Using the MyTradeHub feature, importers and exporters can upload their profile and showcase their goods and services online to find buyers or source them from suppliers within the continent. Combining the matchmaking capabilities of MyTradeHub, extensive AfCFTA information resources, and a seamless access to Ecobank's comprehensive suite of financial solutions and digital channels, the Trade Hub will help businesses thrive within the AfCFTA and maximise their value-addition across regional corridors.”
The World Bank estimates that the AfCFTA will increase Africa’s exports by $560 billion and boost the continent’s GDP by 7% by 2035. The single market, which became operational at the beginning of 2021, aims to remove most tariffs on goods and services in Africa among member countries and enables the free movement of businesspersons and investments.