Zenith Bank, in collaboration with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), has inked a significant memorandum of understanding (MoU) aimed at establishing a groundbreaking Intra-Africa trade portal named SMARTAfCFTA.
This innovative portal, designed as a single source of trade information for the continent, has secured funding of one million dollars from Zenith Bank to bolster trade information accessibility across Africa.
Wamkele Mene, Secretary General of AfCFTA, highlighted the imperative for Nigeria to expand its automotive industry to cater to domestic and regional automobile requirements. Addressing an international trade seminar hosted by Zenith Bank, Mene stressed that Nigeria’s foray into automobile production could tap into a substantial market void.
AfCFTA’s analysis indicates that a staggering void of five million vehicles annually exists in Africa, with only a few countries like South Africa, Morocco, and Egypt contributing to the automobile manufacturing landscape. Nigeria, with its vast population, is well-positioned to bridge this gap while capitalizing on Afreximbank’s $1 billion facility earmarked for countries entering the car manufacturing sector.
Mene emphasized, “For Nigeria, there is an opportunity to include the auto sector in your strategy if it’s not there already as your strategy for diversification for the production of vehicles, creating jobs, driving industrialization.”
He urged immediate action towards the automobile sector, citing its potential for job creation and value addition. The development financing institutions, such as Afreximbank, have aligned with AfCFTA’s aspirations by providing substantial funding to stimulate vehicle production under the trade agreement.
Ebenezer Onyeagwu, Group Managing Director of Zenith Bank, expressed his optimism about the transformative impact of AfCFTA on Africa’s prosperity. He affirmed that the MOU between Zenith Bank and AfCFTA aims to materialize the SMARTAfCFTA portal, which will play a pivotal role in facilitating intra-African trade.
With the SMARTAfCFTA portal, individuals and businesses across the continent will be able to effortlessly showcase and explore African products and services, transcending geographical boundaries. Onyeagwu emphasized the potential of the portal to promote economic growth, stating, “You can sit in every part of Africa and market your products and services. You can sit in every part of Africa and identify whatever products and services you require that are in Africa.”
This strategic partnership between Zenith Bank and AfCFTA underscores the commitment to enhancing trade and economic opportunities across Africa, fostering inclusivity, and enabling greater regional integration.