* 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
By Duncan Mlanjira
The Ecobank Single Market Trade Hub, which Ecobank Malawi recently unveiled, is indeed promoting intra-African trade as over 1,400 businesses from 35 African countries and over 60 Malawian businesses signed onto the digital platform so far.
The Ecobank Single Market Trade 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.
The Trade Hub 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.
Speaking during an Exporters Training that was organised by Malawi Investment & Trade Centre (MITC) at Amaryllis Hotel in Blantyre, Ecobank Malawi Head of Trade Finance, Alinafe Chikudzu unpacked that Trade Hub connects traders across Africa, within the 1.4 billion people single market framework of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
“AfCFTA has created an immense opportunity for African and Malawian businesses in particular,” Chikudzu said. “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 Trade Hub, among others, offers essential features and services that include:
* 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.
In her presentation, Chikudzu further said: “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 Malawian 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,” she said.
The World Bank estimates that the AfCFTA will increase Africa’s exports by US$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.
To visit Ecobank’s Single Market Trade Hub, interested businesses are encouraged to visit: www.tradehub.ecobank.com