Ecobank Group, a leading financial institution across Africa, has launched the groundbreaking ‘Ecobank Single Market Trade Hub’ in its unwavering commitment to foster intra-African trade. Today, the Trade Hub is live, boasting a digital platform that has already attracted over 300 businesses from 22 countries. This innovative initiative facilitates connections among traders throughout Africa, capitalizing on the vast potential of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which encompasses a single market of 1.4 billion people.

The Ecobank Single Market Trade Hub represents a state-of-the-art digital ecosystem designed to cater to the evolving trading requirements of SMEs and corporations operating within Africa’s single market. It seeks to bridge the information gap in trade by harnessing Ecobank’s extensive client base and leveraging its network advantage, derived from its presence in 35 African markets.

Recently, the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) successfully hosted its 58th Biannual Research Workshop, fostering collaboration and knowledge sharing.

Jeremy Awori, the Chief Executive Officer of Ecobank Group, underscored the tremendous opportunities that the AfCFTA has unlocked for African businesses. Ecobank, as the pan-African bank with the broadest coverage across the continent, is uniquely positioned to provide trade information and payment solutions that empower SMEs and corporations to capitalize on the vast potential of the single market. The Ecobank Single Market Trade Hub represents a remarkable addition to the institution’s portfolio of omni-channels, empowering businesses to thrive and flourish within Africa’s single market.

The Trade Hub encompasses several pivotal features and services:

  1. MyTradeHub: An advanced online platform that acts as a match-making engine, facilitating connections between importers and exporters. It empowers them to create comprehensive company profiles, showcase their goods and services, and forge connections with potential buyers and suppliers across the African continent.
  2. AfCFTA Expertise: Serving as a valuable repository of knowledge and information, the Trade Hub equips SMEs and corporations with critical insights on the African Continental Free Trade Area. It helps businesses familiarize themselves with the intricacies of the single market and guides them on strategies to expand their trade into new African markets.
  3. Trade and Payment Solutions: Acting as a gateway, the Trade Hub provides seamless access to Ecobank’s wide array of products and cutting-edge digital solutions. These encompass trade finance and services, cash management solutions (including the revolutionary RapidCollectJ), domestic and cross-border payments, investment banking, Capex financing, and an array of other bespoke offerings.

Souleymane Diagne, the Group Head of Trade at Ecobank Group, emphasized the transformative impact that the AfCFTA has had on the African business landscape. Within this dynamic context, the Ecobank Single Market Trade Hub serves as a catalyst, fostering intra-African trade partnerships and facilitating African businesses’ access to new markets. By utilizing the MyTradeHub feature, importers and exporters gain a powerful platform to upload their profiles, exhibit their goods and services, and connect with potential buyers or suppliers within the continent.

Through the synergistic combination of MyTradeHub’s match-making capabilities, comprehensive AfCFTA information resources, and frictionless access to Ecobank’s extensive suite of financial solutions and digital channels, the Trade Hub empowers businesses to thrive within the AfCFTA. It maximizes their value-addition across regional corridors and positions them to unlock their full potential.

According to the World Bank, the implementation of the AfCFTA is projected to elevate Africa’s exports by an astounding $560 billion and substantially bolster the continent’s GDP by 1% by 2035. As of 2021, the operationalization of the single market aims to dismantle most tariffs on goods and services among member countries, effectively facilitating the free movement of businesspersons and investments.

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