Standard Chartered Conference Harps On Single Continental Market For Nigerian Businesses

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Yemisi Izuora

As part of Standard Chartered’s knowledge, capacity building and developmental initiatives across its local markets, Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria (SCB) hosted a virtual conference for clients and stakeholders on 21st January, 2021.

The conference was organized to discuss the Implications of a Single Continental Market for Nigerian businesses on the back of the launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement on 1st January, 2021. The virtual conference was a unique opportunity for the Bank to re-reinforce its brand promise and commitment to driving commerce and prosperity across Africa which remains a strategic region for the Bank’s for trade and investments priorities.

 

AfCFTA is expected to facilitate the creation of a single continental market for goods and services with free movement of people and investment capital, thus deepening economic integration of member countries and expanding intra-African trade across the continent. Experts believe that full implementation of the agreement will provide growth opportunities for entrepreneurs and businesses, boost industrialization, increase investment opportunities and technology transfers.

 

The conference provided a platform for major Multinationals, International Corporates, Industry Experts, Policy Makers, Regulators and other stakeholders in Nigerian to garner new perspectives on the opportunities for economics of scale, industrialization, investment flows, human capital development and business expansions as well as potential challenges that the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement may portends for the Nigeria business environment.

 

Lamin Manjang (CEO, Standard Chartered Bank) stated that “Full implementation of AfCFTA could provide a lever to mitigate the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and help move millions out of poverty by 2025. SCB combines its local knowledge and track record in 15 African markets with global network spanning more than sixty countries and continuous investment in products and services, making us the ideal partner for clients.”

 

Presenting the keynote speech on “Implication of a single continental market for Nigerian Businesses’’, Razia Khan (Chief Economist for Africa and the Middle East, Standard Chartered Bank) said “AfCFTA presents an opportunity for the Nigerian Economy to move away from oil dependency and put in place meaningful diversification which will impact policies as well as the FX regime. The Nigerian Economy’s advantage is its scale, as it makes development more rapid than other African counterparts. The key to leveraging this, is finding the right synergies.”

 

Ibiyemi Okuneye (Head, Transaction Banking, Standard Chartered Bank) also reiterated that “The successful implementation of the agreement will require collective partnerships and co- operation between the public and private sector as AfCFTA is not just about moving goods and services, but about moving the entire continent forward for industrialisation and economic growth.”

The speakers comprised of intellectuals from corporate and government institutions namely: Alhaji Jibrin Apeh Salifu (Deputy Director, Trade and Exchange Department, Central Bank of Nigeria), Mr Ayalogu Anthony (AG, Comptroller, Trade Facilitation, Nigeria Customs Service), Professor Jonathan Aremu (International Economic Relations at the Covenant University, Nigeria), Alhaji Sada Ladan-Baki (GED International Trade & Export Dangote Industries Limited), Mr Bamidele Ayemibo (CEO, 3T IMPEX, Trade Academy), Omolara Adenusi (Head, Cash Management at Standard Chartered Bank) and Sola Bakare (Head, Global Subsidiaries at Standard Chartered). The speakers shared important and useful insights on how AfCFTA will facilitate opportunities for infrastructure development and economic transformation of Africa and Nigeria in particular.

 

Standard Chartered’s strategic purpose is driving commerce and prosperity through our unique diversity across emerging markets we operate (Asia, Africa and the Middle East). It’s extensive experience and unrivalled track record of working with corporates across Africa sub-regions continues to position her as the best suited partner in harnessing the full benefits of AfCFTA.

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