Patrick Akinwuntan, Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, has announced the decision of the bank to form an alliance with other organisations in a bid to explore accessible opportunities available in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The bank Managing Director stated that the pan African bank was set up mainly for the economic integration and development of Africa.
He emphasized on the preparedness of the bank to deploy its capacity, platform and network to achieve the AfCFTA objectives.
His statement reads in part, ‘Naturally for us as a pan African bank, we are set up to support the economic integration and development of Africa. We have a commitment, capacity, network to support the realisation of AfCFTA objectives. We understand the regulatory environments, cultures and have the technology and innovation platforms. We will support Fintech to push Africa to benefit from the global market.’
Mene Wamkele, first General Secretary of AfCFTA, expressed great level of satisfaction as regards Nigeria’s readiness to deposit the instrument of ratification of the AfCFTA; noting his anticipation towards Nigeria’s leadership in AfCFTA.
He, however, noted that the African continent has intently laid focus on security and political issues for a long period, but has now shifted its focus on matters related to trade and investment.
The General Secretary of AfCFTA in his words said that ‘Whatever decision we take at the secretariat would be informed by what Africa wants. We will not put up any design that will not support what Africa wants. We would employ digitisation, and fintech will drive financial inclusion. We would drive trade inclusion through fintech that would be affordable, accessible, and available.’
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He further said that ‘Border closure and xenophobic issues have to be addressed according to the rules of the trade agreement, foreigners have to be protected by the agreement. All foreign entities must be treated like domestic players.’
He added that ‘AfCFTA has improved on the WTO requirements on trade facilitation,’ and ‘would ensure that countries meet up with their obligation to ensure smooth trade.’