*As Ecobank opens Pan African Centre
By Elizabeth Adegbesan
The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, has enjoined Ecobank, African Development Bank (AfDB) and African Export Import (Afrexim) Bank to come up with innovative mechanisms to contribute in closing Africa’s wide trade finance gap.
Moussa disclosed this at the grand opening of the new Ecobank Pan African Centre (EPAC), in Lagos.
Represented by Commissioner for Economic Development, Trade Industry and Mining of the African Union Commission, Albert Muchanga, Moussa said stated: “Africa has embarked on a part of strategic market integration and enlargement through the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA), a market of 1.3 billion people and growing.
“In this market, which has a huge potential for growth and also a platform for deeper government integration, the financial sector across Africa will play a key role in all aspects of banking including trade finance.
“With respect to trade finance, traders want to be paid on time and in full as they engage in intra-African trade and the financial sector will facilitate this as the financial institutions across Africa will be the first point of call in these operations.
“The need for timely payment comes against the background where one of the key challenges that the financial sector in Africa has met is the annual trade finance deficit in the margins of like one to a hundred and twelve billion US dollars.
“In this connection, I call on Ecobank to join the African Development Bank and the African Export Import Bank in coming up with innovative mechanisms to contribute in closing the continent wide trade finance gap”.
He said that the Commission was very much happy to witness the commissioning of this magnificent Edifice, EPAC, and noted that the centre will not only serve as the headquarters of Ecobank Nigeria but also stand as a beacon of faith, success by the founders of the bank.