Stanbic IBTC Holdings, a member of Standard Bank Group, remained relentless in enhancing international trade between Africa and China. The financial institution recently hosted the Africa-China Trade Expo to promote trade relations and boost economic prosperity in the two regions.
The two-day hybrid event, which held on 10 and 11 August 2022, featured industry experts and professionals from Nigeria, South Africa, and China. The event, themed ‘Synergy for Growth’, focused on export enablement and import policies, bilateral trade relations, product exhibitions by Nigerian and Chinese businesses, and the various means through which Stanbic IBTC had facilitated trade between Nigeria and China.
In his opening remarks, the Chief Executive of Stanbic IBTC Bank, Wole Adeniyi, disclosed that Stanbic IBTC’s Africa China Trade Solutions (ACTS) had connected numerous Nigerians to over 16,000 Chinese suppliers, and thereby promoted valuable trade relationships between the two economies. He said: “Through our relationship with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), we connect various businesses while we create opportunities to generate foreign exchange for the country.”
The need for business-friendly import and export policies was extensively addressed at the event. Ade Otukomaya, Head, Africa China Banking, Stanbic IBTC Bank, stated that business-friendly import and export policies would facilitate increased intra-regional and international trade. “Policies, which are a deliberate system of guidelines to achieve rational outcomes, are key to improving trade relations. We want to encourage more trade and pursue open trade policies with other nations such as China, to catalyse the growth of Africa’s economy,” Ade said.
In the same vein, Remy Osuagwu, Executive Director, Business and Commercial Clients, Stanbic IBTC Bank, said: “African businesses can now export agro commodities and other products to China at subsidised rates. Chinese clients can also import and export goods and services from their provinces to Africa at lower costs. This will increase revenue for both nations, encourage market diversification and foster better international economic cooperation between the two nations. Our trade partners, Zhejiang International Trading Supply Chain Limited, have simplified the processes to enable seamless trade transactions between clients in both nations.”
According to Remy, improved trade relations between Africa and China will trigger business growth, which in turn will promote the development of commercial trade services, enhance import and export of commodities, and boost economic development.
Remy highlighted that market diversification, would yield positive results. “The sole focus on the domestic market exposes clients to an increased risk from downturns in the economy, environmental events, or other risk factors. Less dependence on a single market, helps to mitigate potential risks and can open avenues for new product lines or commodities across nations. The Africa-China Banking Conference and Exhibition will provide a new platform for economic cooperation, coordination of import and export of bulk commodities, trade promotion activities, and the sustained development of our foreign trade relations with China.”
Seun Ogundolapo, Head Trade, Transactional Products and Services, Stanbic IBTC Bank, remarked that the RT200 FX Policy by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will encourage more businesses to go into export as well as prompt exporters to add value to the commodities they export.
He said “The RT200 policy is designed to increase the nation’s earnings exclusively from non-oil exports to $200 billion in foreign exchange repatriation, within the next three to five years. This is also in line with our mandate to promote exports of agro commodities and semi-finished or finished goods to other countries.”