NIGERIA – Zenpay Limited, a fintech firm and a subsidiary of Zenith Bank Plc, has signed an agreement with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat.

The agreement, signed by the Chairman of Zenpay Limited, Dr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu, and the Secretary-General of the AfCFTA Secretariat, His Excellency Wamkele Mene, at Zenith Bank Headquarters, is for the development and deployment of the SMARTAfCFTA Portal to facilitate trade within the African continent.

This is a follow-up to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the previous parties during the 8th Annual Edition of Zenith Bank’s International Trade Seminar on Non-Oil Export, which was held on Wednesday, August 8, 2023.

During the agreement signing, Dr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu, Chairman of Zenpay Limited, expressed his enthusiasm for collaborating with the AfCFTA Secretariat, highlighting its significance given the current understanding of African trade flows. 

In Africa, intra-African trade constitutes only about 20% of total trade, with the rest going overseas, despite Africans making up 18% of the world population but contributing less than 5% to global GDP. By trading within Africa, we anticipate building prosperity across the continent,” Dr. Onyeagwu noted.

“This initiative is not driven by profit but by the need to support the African Continental Free Trade Area. It aims to create a unified African market, enhance economic integration, and standardize customs and practices. As we advance this agenda, we expect to see significant growth and improvement in intra-African trade.”

The Portal aims to streamline and unlock vast opportunities for trade across the African continent. It can provide information like trade indicators, market trends, custom tariffs, trade agreements, Rules of Origin, market access requirements of relevant jurisdictions, export potentials, export diversification indicators, contact details of business partners in target markets, and other trade-related information about Africa.

Four years ago, we discussed and envisioned SMARTAfCFTA as a digital platform to empower SMEs and young entrepreneurs in Africa, facilitating their inclusion in trade and boosting intra-African trade,” Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General of the AfCFTA Secretariat said.

“This platform will serve as a repository for crucial trade data, offering insights on rules of origin and market intelligence, thus playing a pivotal role in implementing the AfCFTA agreement.

“Today is a testament that working together with our African partners, in this case, Zenith Bank shows that their commitment goes beyond their profit margins to their stakeholders and is motivated by our shared duty towards the Continent.”

Speaking about the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) alongside the SMARTAfCFTA portal,  H.E. Mene described PAPSS as “Africa’s payment highway.”

He clarified that, unlike PAPSS, SMARTAfCFTA is not a payment platform but will be interoperable with PAPSS, allowing functionalities that facilitate easy payments. He emphasized that these platforms complement each other; they are not in competition.

SMARTAfCFTA is a digital platform facilitating international trade by providing information and tools to the African private and public sectors.

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