Ecobank Nigeria Managing Director Patrick Akinwuntan said the bank is prepared to collaborate with other organisations to explore the opportunities available in the African Continental Free Trade Region (AfCFTA).
In his remarks at the Lagos event, Akinwuntan pointed out that the pan-African bank was set up primarily for the economic integration and growth of Africa, stressing that the bank was ready to deploy its power, platform and network to meet the objectives of the AfCFTA.
According to him, “Naturally for us as a pan African bank, we are set up to support the economic integration and development of Africa. We have a commitment, capacity, network to support the realisation of AfCFTA objectives. We understand the regulatory environments, cultures and have the technology and innovation platforms. We will support Fintech to push Africa to benefit from the global market.”
Also speaking, AfCFTA, Mene Wamkele expressed satisfaction that Nigeria is ready to deposit the instrument of ratification of the AfCFTA, noting that he is looking forward to Nigeria’s leadership in AfCFTA.
He observed that for a long time, the African continent has focused on security and political issues, noting that focus is now being shifted towards trade and investment-related matters.
“Whatever decision we take at the secretariat would be informed by what Africa wants. We will not put up any design that will not support what Africa wants. We would employ digitisation, and fintech will drive financial inclusion. We would drive trade inclusion through fintech that would be affordable, accessible, and available,” adding that “Border closure and xenophobic issues have to be addressed according to the rules of the trade agreement, foreigners have to be protected by the agreement. All foreign entities must be treated like domestic players.
Discrimination of any kind that will be tolerated. AfCFTA has improved on the WTO requirements on trade facilitation, and we would ensure that countries meet up with their obligation to ensure smooth trade,” Wamkele pointed out.