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Nigeria can become the biggest beneficiary of AfCFTA –expert

Felix Oloyede



Nigeria can become the biggest beneficiary of AfCFTA –expert

Nigeria may be the biggest beneficiary of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) with greater ease of doing business and business competitiveness, a financial expert has said. 

Mr Isaiah Ndukwe, Divisional Head, Export and Agricultural Business, Fidelity Bank Plc, said this when evaluating the just-concluded Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) 2021, held in Durban, South Africa.

He told the Nigerian News Agency that the fair presented Nigerians, especially those who participated in the event, the opportunity for alliances, collaborations and knowledge transfer.

Ndukwe noted that around 10 Fidelity Bank clients who participated in IATF 2021 were awarded product sales contracts and partnership agreements for more than $ 100 million due to the bank’s ease of doing business and the opportunity they gained.

“The only quick win for us is the development of market access for our export clients. We were at the inaugural IATF in Cairo in 2018 and the connections were a great revelation.

“We took several of our clients with us and we also gave them platforms to display and showcase their products.

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“They all got product sales contracts and partnership agreements. The total size of the deal closed in Cairo exceeded $ 75 million.

“The same has happened in this exit with a total size of the agreement exceeding 100 million dollars.

“I firmly believe that if we can work to improve the overall ease of doing business and business competitiveness, Nigeria may be the biggest winner of the AfCFTA.

“The IATF is one of the AfCFTA’s key levers to drive regional trade integration in Africa. On take-off, the AfCFTA will help connect Nigerian companies to the continental and global manufacturing value chain.

“That is why it is so important to us and why we are taking proactive steps to improve our clients’ readiness and positioning to take advantage of the growth opportunities that IATF and AfCFTA present for their businesses,” said Ndukwe.
According to him, IATF and AfCFTA were two engines of the economy and that the country should take advantage of them for economic prosperity, just as the bank has done with some of its clients who export goods and services.

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“This is what differentiates us from other banks. From a business operations perspective, the non-oil export trade requires a total mindset shift. It is a very competitive business landscape, especially if you operate in the value-added export arena.

“Therefore, the development of human capital, especially around the preparation of companies for exports, is a fundamental pillar in positioning Nigerian exporters to be more competitive in the global market.

“The global market is a brutal ‘free market’ arena similar to the Roman ‘Death-Fight’ Coliseums. He is not in prison and he will punish you if you do not come prepared or have competitive and comparative advantages.

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“For example, if you export something from Nigeria to the UK, you are competing with companies from other countries that export to that same market.

“So if you don’t get your product at a cheaper price or higher quality than the competition, you will be out of the market.

“The global market does not care about your opinions or the macro and micro problems of the origin of the product/country. The primary consideration is the value to the end consumer of your product, “he said.

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Ndukwe added that the bank created platforms such as the Export Management Program (EMP), a capacity-building program, which they jointly created with the Lagos Business School (LBS) and the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC). , to help close business management skills gaps.

He added: “Here, we teach aspiring and existing exporters how to improve at what they do.

“Some of the areas we cover include, but are not limited to, product or raw material sourcing and effective supply chain management, quality assurance and quality control processes, global standards and best practices.

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“Others are packaging, contract and commercial negotiation, export documentation, dispatch, financial management and governance.

“We also provide fictional and free advisory services to exporters to help drive business optimizations.

“Another way we support exporters is in the area of ​​developing market access. We also support services and advice on export trade documentation.”

He said the bank’s main objective of attending the IATF regularly was to help stimulate the growth of the Nigerian economy and expand its market share in the business banking landscape, especially its export banking business.(NAN)

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