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Africa must think continental, focus on wealth creation – Ecobank CEO

By David Olalele

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Ecobank

African countries have been asked to adopt a continent-wide approach to business and also focus on wealth creation to be relevant in the global value chain. 

The Chief Executive Officer, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), Ade Ayeyemi, made this demand at the Ecobank virtual  Regional Trade Conference 2020.

Ayeyemi explained that for the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) to become a reality, there must be commitment and readiness for trade facilitation by the individual nations.

According to him,  Ecobank is fully committed to Africa as the foremost Pan-African Bank to Unequivocally support the implementation of AfCFTA.

He also said the bank is ready to use its unique pan-African platform to facilitate trade, payment, and deployment of its strong Africa knowledge to support governments and businesses. 

The Ecobank CEO maintained that  “no country is so poor that it has nothing to give and no country is so rich that it has nothing to receive. All of us must come together to become better.”

On his part, Segun Awolowo, Executive Director/ Chief Executive, Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), disclosed that with a market of 1.2 billion people and combined GDP of $3 trillion, there is huge potential for Nigeria to increase its export to Africa. 

Awolowo explained that most of the exports have been informal exports, but with platforms like Ecobank, it is going to be formal and add real value to the economy. 

According to him,  in 2018, the export value of Nigeria to Africa totaled around $6.99 billion but its export to the rest of the world totaled $45.92 billion. However, Nigeria’s export is majorly crude oil and natural gas which constitute 91%.

He explained further that using the international trade center export’s tool, NEPC has identified areas of untapped potential for Nigeria in Africa such as fertilizer, ginger, and sesame, as these are what other African countries are buying. “Nigeria must, and can, live in a world where it no longer sells oil.

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