Trade is crucial to bridging economic gaps and boosting infrastructural development. Countries with international solid trade portfolios tend to grow faster, innovate more and provide higher incomes and economic opportunities for their citizens.
Beyond integration into the global economy through trade and global value chains that help drive economic growth, open trade also benefits low-income households by giving consumers the opportunity of accessing affordable goods and services.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the continuous growth of global economies with disruptions in credit supplies, restriction of access to credit, and detrimental health challenges. Gross Domestic Product in Africa contracted by two per cent, while over 30 million people on the continent became impoverished.
The pandemic also impacted Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) with increased calls for investment and funding, especially in the financing of vaccines, to stem the rise of the pandemic. Furthermore, the MDBs were forced to become more agile while fostering deeper connections amongst clients across the continent. These were some of the issues discussed at the 2021 Global Trade Review.
The Global Trade Review is an annual event where global experts in the trade and commerce industries discuss international trade as it affects the economies of each continent and country and seeks solutions to manoeuvre challenges that may be presented.
Last year’s COVID-19 pandemic affected virtually every sector of the global economy. Speaking as a panellist in the 2021 Global Trade Review with the theme “Mobilising Development Finance: A necessity for Africa’s economic resurgence”, Jesuseun Fatoyinbo, Head, Trade at Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC, said that financial service providers, as part of the global community, were also affected by the pandemic.
Jesuseun highlighted the financial institution’s role in partnering with various businesses to boost trade and commerce in terms of economic recovery. According to him, Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC established administrative support for its network of clients, which included reaching out to them frequently to understand their business concerns and guide Stanbic IBTC in providing support. The financial institution offered financial support to small and medium scale enterprises affected by the pandemic.
Stanbic IBTC’s unique intra-African trade solutions enabled settlements of international transactions while mitigating payment risks on the continental stage.
As global trade resumes fully, the need for cross-border payments remain imperative as Africa remains a significant trade partner with China; thus, the significance of Stanbic IBTC’s Africa China Trade Solutions Import (ACTS Import), a solution tailored at providing top-notch financial solutions to African importers who transact with China. The solution provides exclusive access to an accredited trade agent responsible for connecting African businesses to an array of suppliers across China. The appointed agent provides access to over 10,000 Chinese suppliers and assesses suppliers to ensure their products meet global standards.
ACTS Import offers a broad ecosystem of services, solutions, and support, which equip African businesses to leverage trade and growth opportunities and ultimately drive Africa’s economic growth. This support enables African importers to have sufficient lead time to procure their goods before making payment. It also helps to ease the cash flow of African importers by providing access to financing while also empowering the importers to have end-to-end visibility of the entire importation and logistic process.
In the global economy, no country is self-sufficient as there are inter-dependencies with other countries at different levels of trade. Integration into the global economy has proven to be a powerful tool for countries to promote economic growth, development, and reduce poverty. Stanbic IBTC also engaged in strategic partnerships with other multilateral and regional organisations such as the African Development Bank, African Export-Import Bank, ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development and Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) in the facilitation and implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) agreement to the benefits of its clients. Furthermore, it has continued to provide financial guarantees and solutions to small and medium scale enterprises on the continent, accounting for more than 80 per cent of the continent’s economic space.
Similarly, through the Stanbic IBTC Trade Club solution, there is access to unlimited opportunities for business owners to meet and trade with suppliers anywhere in the world. The Stanbic IBTC Trade Club solution provides business financing solutions to entrepreneurs who need funds to carry out their domestic or cross-border trade activities. It also offers exposure for business owners to meet and trade with suppliers anywhere in the world, giving them the needed exposure for their businesses to thrive. The solution identifies with businesses, empowering them with the required trade tools and expertise and linking them with new global trade partnerships they can trust while nurturing their growth through good human relationships.
The Stanbic IBTC Trade Club provides entrepreneurs with the relevant tips and the right tools to build their businesses. It also provides valuable information regarding business models, accounting, marketing, and legal aspects that enable businesses to achieve set goals.
With Stanbic IBTC’s unique financial offerings, Africa remains on the part of the economic resurgence that will eventually enable the continent to compete with other world economies.