- Senior Advisor, Africa Export -Import Bank, Emeka Uzomba noted the importance of financing trade, to enhance market access.
- While the launch of AfCFTA, symbolized the commencement of trading under preferential terms within Africa, there exist some challenges that hinder its implementation.
Manufacturing Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have called for financing to enable them take advantage of opportunities in the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
This was during a live session, hosted by Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) and Syspro Africa.
Speaking during the event, Senior Advisor, Africa Export -Import Bank, Emeka Uzomba noted the importance of financing trade, to enhance market access.
“With the commencement of trade under AfCFTA, came challenges, which hinder small businesses across Africa, from reaping its benefits. We, therefore, need to create our own solutions, to finance businesses to take advantage of opportunities presented by different trade agreements,” noted Uzomba.
Syspro Africa Head of Solutions, Dierdre Fryer explained that the coming into force of AfCFTA is disruptive andcalls on businesses to adjust their operations.
“Technology and development under multilateral trade are inseparable.Harness technology, by both the business community and participating governments, shall enable the swift movement of goods, services, money and even skills in Africa,” said Fryer.
KAM Head of Consulting, Joyce Njogu noted that SMEs in the country face unique challenges, which calls for tailor-made solutions, to enhance their growth.
“SMEs continue to face barriers such as financial institutions seeing them as high-risk borrowers, hence are reluctant to lend to them. I urge all stakeholders, in government and financial services to tap into this gap, since SMEs offer enormous potential to the economy,” said Njogu
“Lending to SMEs shall enhance their competitiveness, thus creating a level-playing field between them and products manufactured in other markets.”
While the launch of AfCFTA on January 1 2021 symbolized the commencement of trading under preferential terms within Africa, there exist some challenges that hinder its implementation.
Some of these include under-developed transport and logistics networks across the continent, overlapping membership to trade blocs, non-uniform order in the clearance of logistics, unfamiliar customs and administrative procedures and transit policies of goods across different Regional Economic Communities (RECs) among countries with no functional trade arrangements.