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Zenith Bank, AfCFTA Launch Innovative Smart Trade Portal | Citizen NewsNG

ByCitizen NewsNG

May 5, 2024

 

Zenpay Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Zenith Bank Plc, has signed an Agreement with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat for the development and deployment of the SMARTAfCFTA Portal to facilitate trade within the African continent.

The agreement which was 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, Ajose Adeogun Street, Victoria Island,
Lagos on Friday, May 3, 2024, comes as a follow-up to the Memorandum of
Understanding (MoU) which was previously signed by both 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 the collaboration with the AfCFTA Secretariat, highlighting
its significance given the current understanding of trade flows in Africa. Dr. Onyeagwu
noted, " 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.&quot.

He further stated, " 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, enhancing economic integration and standardizing customs and practices. As
we advance this agenda, we expect to see significant growth and improvement in intra-
Africa trade.&quot.

Also speaking during the agreement signing, His Excellency, Wamkele Mene, Secretary-
General of the AfCFTA Secretariat, shared his delight over the partnership with Zenpay
Limited in developing SMARTAfCFTA. He appreciated Jim Ovia, CFR, Founder and
Chairman of Zenith Bank Plc, for his commitment to the project.

According to him, “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. 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 progit margins to their stakeholders, but are 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 itself 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.
" We promote and encourage only one payment platform—PAPSS. Our goal is to
integrate the digital ecosystem we are developing into PAPSS. We are committed to
fostering innovation within this framework, ensuring it supports a seamless continental
payment system without creating competition among platforms.

“SMARTAfCFTA is a digital platform designed to facilitate international trade by providing
the necessary information and tools to the African private and public sectors. The Portal
aims to streamline and unlock vast opportunities for trade across the African continent and 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, and contact details of business partners in target markets and other trade-related information about Africa.
About ZENPAY Ltd Zenpay Ltd is a private limited liability company duly incorporated under the laws of the
The Federal Republic of Nigeria as a wholly owned subsidiary of Zenith Bank Plc. The
company. It is a one-stop revolutionary financial technology (Fintech) company
responsible for digital innovation and payments.

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