African Export–Import Bank is teaming up with the International Trade Centre to train small business owners and young entrepreneurs in Africa on cross-border trade as part of the new African Continental Free Trade Area initiative.
The training programme tagged ‘How to Export Within the AfCFTA’ is launched as the new free-trade area comes on stream and amid the economic strain of climate change and the coronavirus disease.
It is expected to 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.
Intra-African trade is structurally low at 15 per cent (compared to Europe at nearly 70 per cent), and AfCFTA is expected to open a market of 1.2bn people.
“Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 health and economic crisis, African Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises need support to take full advantage of the continental market,” ITC Acting Executive Director, Dorothy Tembo, said.
“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.”
Managing Director of Afreximbank’s Intra-African Trade Initiative, Kanayo Awani, said the initiative was necessary because increasing intra-African trade through exports of goods and services by Small and Medium-sized Enterprises was the cornerstone of AFCFTA.
“It signals an optimal strategy to aid businesses 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,” said Ms. Awani.
The training, which is expected to run via ITC’s popular multi-lingual SME Trade Academy platform, under the Afreximbank Academy, will be piloted in Nigeria, Rwanda and Côte d’Ivoire and be launched in close collaboration with trade promotion organisations of the three pilot countries.
Afreximbank and ITC will work towards increasing opportunities for small-business owners to export and support countries to achieve their overall trade goals at the regional, continental and global levels.
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