AfCFTA: Afreximbank, ITC to Train Small Business Owners
By Adedapo Adesanya
The African Import-Export Bank (Afreximbank) is teaming up with International Trade Centre (ITC) to train small business owners and young entrepreneurs in Africa to trade with other African countries as part of the new African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The training programme is being launched as the new free-trade area comes on stream next year and amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The training will give business owners the knowledge and skills they need to engage effectively in cross-border trade under terms of the emerging free-trade area for Africa.
Both organisations will work toward increasing opportunities for small business owners to export and supporting countries to achieve their overall trade goals at the regional, continental and global levels.
According to Afreximbank, intra-African trade is structurally low at 15 percent compared to Europe at nearly 70 percent and with the programme under the AfCFTA, it will open a market of 1.2 billion people.
Speaking on this, Mr Kanayo Awani, Managing Director of Afreximbank’s Intra-African Trade Initiative, said that the training was necessary because promoting intra-African trade through increased exports of goods and services by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) was the cornerstone of the AFCFTA.
“It signals an optimal strategy to aid businesses and develop regional value chains, which have become more relevant with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our joint initiative with ITC is a proactive way to support the implementation of the AfCFTA and to provide SMEs with the tools to respond more effectively to the economic and social challenges presented by the global pandemic,’ he said.
On the part of ITC, Executive Director, Mrs Dorothy Tembo said, “Against the backdrop of the current COVID-19 health and economic crisis, African micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) need support to take full advantage of the continental market.
“Through this partnership, African businesses will have the opportunity to learn, plan and succeed in growing their business by taking full advantage of the AfCFTA.”
The training programme, run via ITC’s popular, multilingual SME Trade Academy platform, under the auspices of the Afreximbank Academy (AFRACAD), will kick off in Nigeria, Rwanda, and Cote d’Ivoire and be launched in close collaboration with trade promotion organizations of the three selected pilot countries.