- Group Chief Executive Officer, Ade Ayeyemi
Pan-African banking group, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), said it is facilitating smooth and instant payments across Africa as countries start implementing the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA).
Disclosing this during a recent interview with the media, the Group Chief Executive Officer, Ade Ayeyemi, noted that Ecobank has been able to effect international payment across the 33 African countries where it operates through its Rapid Transfer platform.
According to Ayeyemi, the bank’s platform could be scaled to accommodate other African countries under AfCFTA based on their respective regulations, since the banking group is one of the key supporters of AfCFTA, and this will be of great benefits to both the continent and the bank’s customers.
“With this Pan-African exposure, the governments and our customers will re-evaluate their businesses to efficiently take charge of bigger opportunities,” he said.
“So, if you manufacture goods in Aba for the Nigerian market, you can now start thinking of how to expand your manufacturing capacity to be able to export across West Africa and other African countries, not just looking at Nigeria alone.
“And as you change your demand forecast, you need to now improve your capacity to produce, and that will mean importing new machinery to expand your manufacturing base, develop bigger market and hire more people.”
Ayeyemi further hoped that the introduction of AfCFTA would curb the regulations and government policies limiting the flow of foreign exchange, stating: “Banks will work with other banks, like Afrexim Bank, to provide a swift payment platform as Africa will be the first market for most African products.
“For instance, there is no need for Nigeria to import rubber from Malaysia when rubber is being exported by Côte d’Ivoire. It is better within the African space. So, there is a whole range of businesses over which we are having conversations with our customers, the governments and the African Union, because of our pan-African presence.”
AfCFTA came into effect early this month, aiming to create a single Africa-wide market for goods and services. It will pave the way for rapid dismantling of the impediments to cross-border trade, thereby leading to free movement of business, persons and investments across the continent, and the establishment of the Customs Union.
It will further bring together all 55 AU member-states in a market of over 1.2 billion people, and become the world’s largest free trade area (in terms of the number of participating countries) since the formation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).