African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) will be partnering with International Trade Centre (ITC) to organize a training that will give business owners the knowledge and skills they need to engage effectively in cross-border trade under terms of the emerging free-trade area for Africa.
The training program will equip Micro, Small and Medium sized business owners as well as young entrepreneurs in Africa with knowledge of how to promote intra-African trade ahead of the operational launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The training program is tagged ‘How to Export within the AfCFTA’ and will run via ITC’s multilingual SME Trade Academy platform, under the auspices of the Afreximbank Academy (AFRACAD). It will be piloted in Nigeria, Rwanda, and Côte d’Ivoire and be launched in close collaboration with trade promotion organizations of the three selected pilot countries.
According to the Managing Director of Afreximbank’s Intra-African Trade Initiative, Kanayo Awani, the initiative was necessary because increasing intra-African trade through exports of goods and services by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) was the cornerstone of the AFCFTA. In her words “It signals an optimal strategy to aid businesses and develop regional value chains, which have become more relevant with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic,”
Awani also added ‘Our joint initiative with ITC is a proactive way to support the implementation of the AfCFTA and to provide SMEs with the tools to respond more effectively to the economic and social challenges presented by the global pandemic,”
The acting Executive Director of ITC, Dorothy Tembo stated “Against the backdrop of the current COVID-19 health and economic crisis, African micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) need support to take full advantage of the continental market,” ITC “Through this partnership, African businesses will have the opportunity to learn, plan and succeed in growing their business by taking full advantage of the AfCFTA.”
AfCFTA is expected to promote intra-African trade and open a market of 1.2 billion people.This becomes necessary as Intra-African trade is structurally low at 15% (compared to Europe at nearly 70%, for example).
Afreximbank and ITC are also partnering to support South Sudan in increasing trade competitiveness and boosting exports through economic diversification. The joint effort is also expected to help boost investment opportunities through the development of a trade and investment promotion strategy.
Afreximbank and ITC will work toward increasing opportunities for small-business owners to export and supporting countries to achieve their overall trade goals at the regional, continental and global levels.
The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is Africa’s foremost multilateral financial institution devoted entirely to financing trade & trade development amongst African countries and between Africa and the rest of the world. Afreximbank was established in October 1993 by African governments, the African Development Bank, African private and institutional investors, and non-African institutional investors.