Ecobank is calling for increased cross-border trade as a catalyst to attract regional investment, create employment opportunities and fast-track economic growth.
The pan-African bank with a presence in 36 African countries said that providing financing, innovative trade and payment solutions to customers was vital to facilitate cross-border trade and mobilizing foreign direct investment.
Mr. Samuel Ashitey Adjei, the Ecobank Group Regional Executive for Central, Eastern, and Southern African (CESA) countries – consisting of 18 subsidiaries – said Trade & Commodity Finance solutions was key towards promoting regional trade and creating positive trade relations between neighbouring countries.
“We are working to see Africa’s trade markets enlarge thus bringing products and services to a convergence for business growth. Ecobank’s Trade Finance solutions works to open up channels for import and export finance facility thus promoting trade in the continent,” Adjei said.
According to Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) statistics, imports from EAC reduced from US$ 98 million to US$ 85 million while those from Comesa increased from US$ 151 million to US$ 173 million during the period July to September and October to December last year.
Similarly, exports to EAC reduced from US$ 395 million to US$ 292 million while those to Comesa also dropped from US$ 492 million to US$ 370 million during the same period.
Ecobank Group has a presence in 36 African countries, employs over 20,000 people in 40 different countries in over 1,200 branches and offices. It has over 12 million customers with networks that stretch to Paris, France and with representative offices in Dubai, the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates as well as China.
Ecobank held a conference on the Trade Opportunities in the Central, East and Southern Africa at the Serena Hotel, Nairobi when the bank hosted customers as well as trade and commodity experts following the completion of a two-day East Africa Trade & Commodity Finance Conference 2016 at the Windsor Golf Hotel and Country Club.
The conference provided a networking opportunity to many commodity market leaders to explore and share ideas as well as offer them an opportunity to form new working relationships and re-acquaint themselves with news business models and prospects in East Africa and beyond.
“The Global Trade Review (GTR’s) East Africa Trade & Commodity Finance Conference plays a key role in nurturing positive trade relations between neighbouring countries and explores the current economic challenges facing the commodities sector,” he said.
The bank offers unique intra-Africa trade solutions, enabling customers to settle their international trade transactions efficiently and to mitigate payment risks.
“We work very closely with stakeholders in reviewing key factors regarding Transaction Processing, Settlement, Financing, Risk Mitigation and Credit Enhancement,” he said.
Ecobank has now consolidated its operations across the Central East and Southern Africa cluster into its Regional Office in Kenya to better provide tailor made financial solutions to all our customers.