The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) opens $504.17 billion African goods and $162 billion services opportunities to Nigerian companies.
Access Bank’ acquisition of the majority stake in BancABC Botswana activates a foundation to explore opportunity presented by the AfCFTA and become Africa’s payment gateway to the world, writes COLLINS NWEZE.
Trade is the lifeline of great economies. For Nigeria and many Africa countries, trade not only cement inter-country relationship, but helps to bring prosperity to the people.
Still, businesses that will tap from the opportunities presented by trade, including the $93 billion transactions that happen informally across the African continent, are those that have the identified network and technological backbone to harness such benefits.
The need to formalise Africa’s trade opportunities led to the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which also come with wider opportunities.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said the AfCFTA, when fully implemented, could afford Nigerian companies preferential access to African markets worth $504.17 billion in goods.
Over the last few years, Access Bank Plc has been on an aggressive expansion journey. From expanding its footprints nationally, the Nigerian bank has been strategically planting branches across Africa and establishing presence in countries thousands of miles from its headquarters, to take advantage of the widening opportunities in the continent.
The latest among such venture by Access Bank was its announcement on the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) that it had acquired 78.15 per cent shareholding in African Banking Corporation of Botswana Limited (BancABC Botswana).
The Company Secretary, Access Bank, Sunday Ekwochi, who made this known, explained that BancABC Botswana is the fifth largest bank in Botswana as well as a well-capitalised franchise poised for growth in its local market.
“The new acquisition will form part of the bank’s nexus for trade and payments in Southern Africa and the boarder COMESA trade region. BancABC Botswana’s achievements in the retail banking space will provide an opportunity for the bank to deploy its best-in-class digital platforms and product suites to the benefit of BancABC Botswana’s customers and enable it to complete strongly across its core business segments,” he explained.