CITIZENS COMPASS – Ecobank has called on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as well as large businesses in the country to onboard on its Single Market Trade Hub which was launched recently. The Ecobank Single Market Trade Hub is a cutting-edge digital platform that 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 hub, which is now live, connects traders across Africa, within the 1.4 billion-people single-market framework of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The Hub unlocks a wide array of opportunities with its unique online match-making feature, which facilitates easy connection between importers and exporters who have created their company profiles and are ready to exhibit their goods and services, making it seamless for traders to link up with buyers and suppliers across Africa.
The hub also provides businesses with access to a valuable repository of vital information and knowledge of the AfCFTA, helping SMEs with critical resources to expand their trade into new markets in Africa and evolve into sustainable and scalable enterprises.
Executive Director, Commercial Banking, Kola Adeleke while speaking on the inherent benefits of the digital trade platform to Nigerian businesses, stated that it would promote intra-African trade and empower them to explore AfCFTA opportunities, adding that it would equally help importers to connect with exporters and vice-versa, within Africa’s single market and also create easy access to trading partners on the continent.
According to him, “This hub is in line with our vision of powering one African market. As such, It has been designed to offer a whole lot of benefits to businesses in Nigeria and beyond. Both customers and non-customers of the bank are eligible to sign up on the platform as it is also 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”.
He maintained that Ecobank remains the go–to bank for pan-African trade and payments, noting that “our medium-term objective is to become the leading gateway for pan-African trade facilitation in the emergent AFCFTA era, leveraging our position as a major payment bank in Nigeria.”
According to estimates by the World Bank, the AfCFTA will increase Africa’s income by $450 billion, increase intra-African exports by more than 81% and boost the continent’s GDP by 7% by 2035. The single market trade agreement, which became operational at the beginning of 2021, aims to lift most tariffs on goods and services in Africa among member countries, while enabling the free movement of traders and investments. It will also enable the African economy to reach the $29 trillion mark by 2050, according to estimates from the United Nations Commission for Africa.