- Afreximbak boosts access to finance and eases cross-border payments in light of African Continental Free Trade Area
Friday, 21st October, 2022 Arusha, Tanzania: Speaking at the Webinar on Intra Africa Trade and Investment organized by Afreximbank and East African Business Council, Mr. John Bosco Kalisa, EABC Chief Executive Officer said the Africa We Want should be driven by the private sector.
Mr. Kalisa elaborated that the webinar will delve into innovative products from Afreximbak set to boost access to finance and cross-border payments under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). He explained that intra-Africa trade is set back as 80% of SMEs in Africa cannot access trade finance and over USD. 5 billion is lost due to currency convertibility during transactions in Africa.
Dr. Gainmore Zanamwe, Head, Intra-African Trade Bank (Trade Facilitation and IATF) Afreximbank lauded the public-private partnership in the EAC region that should be replicated across the continent. Dr. Zanamwe called for deliberate actions to boost intra-Africa trade from 16% to higher levels through industrialization, and regional value chains in order to create jobs.
He said the African continent should diversify trade from overdependence on commodities to value-added products.
Mr. Sebabu Bosco, Deputy Head of Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) said in partnership with the Central Banks Afreximbank piloted the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System in the West African Monetary Zone supporting settlement finality of USD.500 million. He stated successful implementation of AfCFTA requires an integrated continental-wide payment infrastructure as the current payment infrastructures result in trade diversion and over-dependence on foreign currencies to the detriment of African currencies. He stated that PAPSS supports the settlement finality of USD. 3 billion at the continental level.
In his contribution to the discussions, Dr. Vimal Shah, EABC Chairperson Emeritus stated recommended for integration of Fintech in Pan African Payment Systems Africa to ease and reduce the cost of doing business transactions across the continent.
Ms. Matimba Changala, Manager – Intra-African Trade Bank, Afreximbank said the EABC and Afreximbank launched the African Trade and Investment Council to support businesses and countries to trade across Africa in light of the AfCFTA opportunities. The African Trade and Investment Council is set to increase intelligence about African markets, business partnerships and intra-African investments.
The upcoming Zanzibar Trade and Investment Forum slated on 30th of November 2022 is one of the planned activities under the African Trade and Investment Council.
Ms. Lizanne Case, Senior Manager- Trade Intelligence Solutions, Office of the President, Afreximbank said TRADAR is a digital platform that provides a central source of regulation and requirements on trade in goods, services and investment across Africa and is set to reduce information asymmetry and boost the continent’s economic growth.
Ms. Emily Mburu, Director Trade-in-Services, Investment, Intellectual Property Rights, Digital Trade, AfCFTA Secretariat said 88.2% of AfCFTA Rules of Origin have been agreed upon. Under the AfCFTA Protocol on Trade in Goods 48 provisional schedules of tariff, offers have been agreed and 31 offers from EAC, ECOWAS, Mauritania, CEMA, Algeria, DRC, Egypt, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Seychelles, Tunisia and Zambia comply with modalities of negotiations. Trade remedies issues are outstanding.
She elaborated that 48 Trade in Service offers have been submitted in the priority sectors of Transport, Business, Tourism and Communication of which 22 comply with modalities of negotiations. She elaborated that AfCFTA Secretariat is also keen to roll out Guided Trade in Services Initiative.
The Draft Protocols on AfCFTA Phase II negotiations on Investment, Competition Policy and Intellectual Property Rights have been drafted and are set to be presented for approval by the Council of Ministers Meeting slated for 27th October 2022 in Gabon.
In his closing remarks, Mr. Dennis Karera, EABC Vice Chair & EATIC Focal Point called for the structured engagement for private sector with the AfCFTA Secretariat in Ghana through Regional Business Councils to ensure private sector proposals on AfCFTA negotiations are taken on board to bolster intra-Africa trade, investment economic growth and prosperity.