FDH Bank unveils benefits of global marketplace platform African Trade Exchange to SMEs and corporate companies

FDH Bank MD and Afreximbank‘s representative Annierose Ngemu unveiling the benefits

* ATEX is supporting the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement

* As well as through the Intra African Trade Fair (IATF), which is also supported by FDH Bank as a key partner

By Duncan Mlanjira

FDH Bank Plc is set to roll out the landmark trade deal of US$10 million which it signed with African Export–Import Bank (Afreximbank) in November last year under Africa Trade Exchange (ATEX) facility, a global marketplace platform that will ensure convenient and transparent trade by connecting verified Malawian exporters and importers that will ultimately enhancing trade efficiency and reducing costs.

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The bank dated small & medium enterprises (SMEs) and corporate companies at two business breakfast sessions in Lilongwe yesterday and in Blantyre today, where they were engaged on the benefits of ATEX marketplace platform — which is touted to reshape the landscape of agricultural procurement in the Southern African region.

FDH Bank’s Managing Director, Noel Mkulichi said they decided to engage the SMEs and corporate companies, emphasising that they cannot overstate how much the bank values the relationship they have with such customers.

“As a token of appreciation and a symbol of our commitment to grow with you, we would like to offer you the opportunity to connect you with local and international importers and exporters, fostering valuable relationships and paving the way for fruitful partnerships,” he said.

“We are doing this through our partner, Afrixembank, where we are sponsoring your access to African Trade Exchange.”

He explained that ATEX is a platform connected within the digital ecosystem, supporting the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement as well as through the Intra African Trade Fair (IATF).

FDH Bank is also a key partner of the IATF whose next edition will take place in Algeria in 2025 with the previous one hosted in Egypt in 2023 where the ATEX agreement was signed.

FDH Bank is also one of the sponsors of the all-important IATF — the only Malawian company to support the continental event and was also part of the partners in the edition held in Durban, South Africa.

The stakeholders at both breakfast meeting were appraised of the benefits that the sponsorship to ATEX will ensure that includes:

* Access to the platform’s verified suppliers and buyers and discover different products from all over Africa including supplier and buyer verification and matching;

* Access to a trusted platform that offers access to competitive rates due to economies of scale reached through consolidated negotiations with sellers and services providers;

* Access to real time information on pricing, product data and seasonality;

* Access to simplified quota information and management with clear guidelines for importers and exporters;

* Preferential access to foreign currency products through the ATEX foreign currency facility — among others.

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“As a bank that champions growth, we look at this as a great avenue for growth for your businesses and the country at large,” Mkulichi said.

“The MW2063 aims to transform Malawi into a wealthy and self-reliant industralised upper-middle-income country by year 2063 and we believe with these strides and continuous innovation, we can achieve this goal.”

He concluded by quoting Oliver Wendell Holmes, the American jurist who served as an associate justice of the US Supreme Court, who said:’Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up’ — and he summed it up by saying: “We sincerely hope that this platform will boost your business and we will be here to provide the necessary support.”

The delegates at the Blantyre session at Sunbird Mount Soche were very impressed with the business deal that FDH Bank has unveiled and one of them Sunduzwayo Jere, who trades in agro-business under the brand Emba-Agro Limited, applauded the it saying it is such a great opportunity for Malawian traders to embrace.

Sunduzwayo Jere

“This is indeed a landmark business deal for us as it is instant through digital means that identifies trade markets for us outside the country while also securing us an opportunity for trade finances.

“The beauty part of it is that it is collateral on its own as FDH Bank will facilitate the trade once a market has been identified and it is a huge opportunity towards earning the much-needed forex for the country.

Thus Jere urged Malawians to embrace this great opportunity in that the business community will shift from trading with 20 million people of this country to more millions across Africa.

Representing Afreximbank was Annierose Ngemu, who is Senior manager of digital marketing finance solutions-global trade for Southern and Eastern Africa as well as the Caribbean — who attested that the platform is the gateway of economic system for the continent.

She added that it deals with banking partners of the African countries to provide a platform for business sectors to an opportunity of connecting with other countries across the continent and the Caribbean.

Last year, Afreximbank — the pan-African supranational multilateral financial institution created in 1993 under the auspices of the African Development Bank — supported Malawi Government with a grant of US$2.6 million (approximately K2.6 trillion) for the financing of mega farms, establishment of an industrial park in Blantyre and the special economic zone, among other projects.

And in New York, on the sidelines of the 78th United Nations General Assembly last September, President Lazarus Chakwera had an interface meeting with Afreximbank president, Bennedict Oramah and his delegation where he expressed his gratitude to Oramah for the critical role they are playing in achieving the staff level agreement between the Malawi Government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

He told Malawi News Agency (MANA) in New York that the recent signing of the historical agreements between Malawi and Afreximbank for the financing of developmental projects, is a clear indication of the bank’s commitment to develop the country. 

On his part, Oramah reaffirmed Afreximbank’s commitment to continue helping Malawi’s quest for national rebuilding in the aftermath of the devastating Cyclone Freddy.

He emphasised that Afreximbank will support Malawi through mega farms as one way of improving food security as the country is recovering from the effects of climate change and pandemics.

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