TRADE FINANCE VITAL FOR EAC EXPORTS GROWTH
Friday, 3rd June, Arusha, Tanzania: The East African Business Council Chairman Mr. Nicholas Nesbitt, EBS, OGW has called for innovative tailor-made solutions to drive the update of trade finance for SMEs and boost exports.
Speaking at the Webinar on Trade Finance in EAC, Chairman Nesbitt said, “Financial instruments for trade are not well understood by business people.”
He urged for more collaboration between public and private trade credit insurance institutions and the adoption of technology in order to mitigate risks and drive uptake of trade finance by the private sector.
High-interest rates, bureaucracy in delivery, high collateral requirements, limited trade finance instruments tailored for SMEs, lengthy approval process, and inadequate capital are among the barriers firms face in the management of trade finance.
Alhaj Rashid Kibowa, EAC Director of Trade representing EAC Secretary General Hon. Dr. Peter Mathuki said “Improving the competitiveness of our economies and digitalization of trade operations is set to boost update of trade finance in the EAC.”
The Webinar organized by the EABC in partnership with European Union – Africa Rise and EAC deliberated on the trade finance landscape in EAC by analyzing barriers and opportunities in a bid to drive uptake of trade finance for businesses.
Mr.Gonzales Jose-Luis reiterated EU’s support and partnership to improve trade and investment in the EAC region.
Ms. Lightness Mlay, Trade Finance Sales & FI Manager, KCB Tanzania urged for more capacity building on trade finance for the private sector and easing regulations on security to increase uptake of trade finance solutions.
Mr. John Bosco Kalisa, EABC CEO elaborated that EABC in partnership with Afreximbank has rolled out the Mansa platform to improve access to business information. Mr. Kalisa stated Know Your Customer (KYC) data is important for businesses to acquire trade finance and also transact across continental and international borders.
Dr. Caiphas Chekwoti, Head of Centre, Trade Policy Training Center in Africa (Trapca) explained called for innovative and flexible trade finance solutions that will further boost the competitiveness of EAC exports.
Ms. Waturi Matu, Senior Advisor on Private Sector Development said collaborative efforts are needed to craft innovative mobile money trade finance solutions for SMEs such as Micro export credit.
Developing an enabling legal framework on trade finance, Upgrading trade infrastructure (warehouses and cold storage), and Enhancing SME’s competitive advantage & eligibility for trade finance products are among the interventions set to boost the uptake of trade finance in the EAC.