By Anita Okoro
Standard Chartered Bank participated as a gold sponsor at the 2022 GTR West Africa conference held in Lagos recently.
The event, which focused on ‘Pinpointing opportunities in a volatile trade environment’, attracted over 400 delegates with participation across over 300 companies, and over 40 speakers who are subject matter experts from corporates, traders, banks, non-bank financiers, technology and fintechs, and the public sector.
The conference centred around the African trade environment, the impact of market disruptions caused by the global pandemic, the role of government in facilitating new trade terms post pandemic, the effect of Pan-African Payment and Settlement System on the flow of trade and trade financing, foreign currency liquidity management, how to improve local currency funding and build capacity, new technologies in agribusiness and the impact on food security among others.
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Ibiyemi Okuneye, head of trade and transaction banking, Nigeria & West Africa, and Kwame Asante, head, transaction banking, Ghana, both from Standard Chartered Bank, participated as speakers and chairpersons at the event. They had the opportunity of sharing insights on topical trade issues.
While speaking on tangible progress made on trade digitization globally and in West Africa, Ibiyemi said there has been a rapid increase in digital platforms for trade and supply chains since the global pandemic.
“Trade digitization is central as businesses seek to redesign supply chain operations and ecosystems to achieve visibility and build resilience. The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) provides a good platform for African countries to reassess progress made so far and deliberately shape national digital policies,” Okuneye said.
Asante, speaking on capitalizing on West Africa’s first mover advantage, said there is still some work to be done to significantly minimize, if not eliminate, non-tariff barriers to trade.
“And more public-private partnership may be needed to enhance existing and develop new infrastructure to help drive unit cost of production downwards. Hopefully, this should improve competitiveness in building enduring value chains and boost trade within the sub-region,” Asante said.