The Chief Executive of Stanbic Bank, Kwamina Asomaning, has charged key stakeholders and all Ghanaians to support the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) if they want to see the continent succeed. Mr. Asomaning said this at the first 2021 edition of the Graphic Business/Stanbic Bank Breakfast Meeting held at the Labadi Beach Hotel in Accra.
According to Kwamina Asomaning, the AfCFTA seeks primarily to improve access and provide scale to African countries by consolidating a market with a combined population of 1.3 billion and GDP of US$2.6trillion. This objective, Mr. Asomaning said, necessitates broad-based support – and it is why Stanbic Bank is collaborating with the AfCFTA community to make objectives of the AfCFTA a reality.
“Stanbic Bank Ghana is a member of the Standard Bank Group. We serve many African countries and have physical presence in 20 countries, including Ghana. Our Group’s purpose says ‘Africa is our home and we drive her growth’. Across these markets, a key strategic area of focus is the financing of cross-border trade. By supporting individuals and businesses to trade across borders, we make these economies sustainable and profitable, and achieve a meaningful impact in the lives our people…To the extent that AfCFTA will lead us to the envisioned economic development of the continent, we are on board,” he said.
Mr. Asomaning continued: “AfCFTA has eight main objectives, all of which centre on promoting economic development and transforming the African continent. The alignment between Standard Bank’s purpose and the AfCFTA’s goals is therefore undeniably strong, necessitating an effective collaboration between the Standard Bank Group and its affiliates, and the AfCFTA community to realise our common vision. It is from this perspective that we see opportunities for the Standard Bank Group to contribute to this new paradigm”.
Mr. Kwamina Asomaning further elaborated the solutions offered by the bank to facilitate realisation of the AfCFTA’s vision. These included: (i) provision of tailor-made working capital solutions for businesses and individuals, especially in the manufacturing, transportation and logistics sectors; (ii)supporting companies and governments to raise long-term funding domestically and internationally for the development of critical infrastructure; (iii) provision of advisory services to assist businesses to integrate into their supply chains and create jobs; (iv) supporting companies, governments and individuals to manage the expected increase in foreign exchange risks, since the AfCFTA initiative does not provide for a single African currency; (v) availing the bank’s digital platforms and solutions to accommodate the change in traditional flow of goods, services, finance and people, and the growing digital component of global flow; and (vi) facilitating e-commerce by helping both large and small players purchase virtual goods and services on mobile devices and platforms in order to participate in expanding cross-border trade.
The Graphic Business/Stanbic Breakfast is a quarterly thought-leadership event organised by the Graphic Communications Group Limited and Stanbic Bank Ghana. The event brings together captains of industry, members of the business community, investors and policymakers to discuss pertinent issues of national development. The first quarter 2021 edition, which was held on the theme ‘Leveraging AfCFTA – The critical success factors’, had Mr. Patrick Nimo, Chief Director at the Ministry of Trade and Industry; Mrs. Emily Mburu-Ndoria, Director-Directorate of Trade-in-Services, Investment, Intellectual Property Rights & Digital Trade, AfCFTA and Mr. Humphrey Dake, Vice President in charge of SMEs, Association of Ghana Industry (AGI) as panel members.