The Deputy Managing Director, United Bank for Africa PLC, Muyiwa Akinyemi, has reiterated the bank’s commitment to the growth of small and medium enterprises across Africa stating the bank will promote regional trade via Pan African Payment Settlement System.
He made this known in his keynote address at the flag-off of the 2022 Lagos International Trade Fair.
According to Akinyemi, while speaking on the theme, ‘Connecting businesses, creating value’, UBA pioneered products and services that were especially designed for SMEs and young business owners in order to help them satisfy their financial needs, gain access to markets, and develop their capabilities.
He said, “We are focused on creating value, connecting and facilitating business across Africa and between Africa with the rest of the world. Already, we have done a trade of about $7.7bn and export trade of about $29.4bn as at August 2022.”
Speaking, he said PAPSS is a centralised payment and settlement system for intra-African trade in goods and services that is poised to transform the payment landscape across Africa.
He said, “Because of our large network and pan-African presence, UBA is working with Afreximbank through the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, to promote regional trade through harmonised trade documentation, easier access to finance and timely and easy currency conversion with the PAPSS platform.”
Already, he added, UBA was at the forefront of the collaboration currently at six pilot countries in West Africa – Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia and Gambia.
Following the kick-off, this will be a major boost to trade across the continent as it will help to provide flexible export financing scheme to aid export of Nigeria products & commodities.
Akinyemi who was speaking in the presence of dignitaries including the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo; Past President, LCCI, Dr. Nike Akande; Representative of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Okonkwo Etoabasi; Past President, LCCI, Asiwaju Solomon Onafowokan, among others, explained that UBA Group prioritises capacity building and valuable financial advisory services for SMEs, and the reason for its regular its quarterly webinar sessions and trainings.
Sanwo-Olu praised UBA’s efforts and support for SMEs, noting how they have had a big impact on the expansion of companies in Lagos and beyond.
He reaffirmed the determination of his administration to prioritize the expansion and development of micro, small, and medium-sized businesses in order to enhance the state’s economic development.
Asiwaju Michael Olawale-Cole, the president of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, also expressed delight with the level of participation by SMEs in the 2022 fair.