The pan-African banking group, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), is making instant and stress-free payments across countries in Africa as implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) commences.
The Group Chief Executive Officer of ETI, Ade Ayeyemi, who disclosed this to journalists, said Ecobank has been able to effect international payments across the 33 countries where it operates within the continent, via its Rapid Transfer platform.
He noted that the bank’s platform can be scaled further to accommodate more AfCFTA member countries in line with their respective guiding regulations. According to Ayeyemi, AfCFTA will be of great benefit to both the continent and customers of the bank and Ecobank Group is one of the key supporters of the economic union.
“With this Pan-African exposure, the governments and our customers will re-evaluate their businesses to efficiently take charge of bigger opportunities. 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 also other African countries, … 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.” The Ecobank group CEO said.
Group CEO of ETI, Ade Ayeyemi
He expressed hope that AfCFTA would help curb bureaucracy that limits the flow of foreign exchange. “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. So, there is a whole range of businesses that we are having conversations with our customers, the governments and the African Union, because of our pan-African presence.”
The AfCFTA which came into effect recently, aims at creating a single Customs Union and African wide market for goods and services by dismantling of impediments to cross-border trade paving the way for free movement of persons and investments across the continent. The bloc which brings together all 55 AU member states, covering a market of more than 1.2 billion people is seen as the world’s largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organization In terms of numbers of participating countries.