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Standard Bank prepares to dominate Africa-China trade flow

In a move that is set to significantly boost the export of African products to China, Standard Bank, Africa’s largest financial services organisation, has launched a new export proposition that eases challenges and supports exporters in accessing the Chinese market.

The Africa China Export Proposition (ACEP), launched at the China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, connects export-ready clients from across the African geographies in which Standard Bank operates with suitable importers in China while also fast-tracking the export process by guiding them through the entire export value chain.

From establishing market access to navigating regulatory requirements, preparing the product for export and transporting the product itself, the Standard Bank’s ACEP aims to support clients across all sectors to allow for a seamless trade experience between their exported goods and the intended Chinese importers.

The ACEP pools together the relevant stakeholders – from both the public and private sector – who possess the experience, capabilities and necessary infrastructure to address the needs of African exporters by providing them with market intelligence, access to trade finance, sales channels and more.

This is facilitated in part by Standard Bank’s strategic partnership with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), which has led to a partnership with Chenshia Group and Axis Group International. These two trade agents are well versed and knowledgeable of both the African and Chinese trade and cultural landscape.

With over 20 years’ experience in foreign trade services, Chenshia Group and Axis Group International will assist both African clients and their Chinese counterparts across the entire export value chain and logistics process while, at the same time, support the African countries’ export promotion councils to access the Chinese markets for their non-extractive export products on behalf of their export clients.

Given the enormous size of the Chinese market, an agricultural producer in Nigeria or Uganda typically contends with a multitude of challenges such as bureaucratic regulations, financial constraints, and the language barriers and complexities of the Chinese business culture.

The ACEP acts as the mechanism to overcome these challenges by empowering clients with market intelligence to better understand the expansive Chinese market and to find a trusted importer match from the ICBC client base. Once that match has been made, clients receive support on export requirements and regulations and how to adequately prepare their products for export.

Standard Bank Group’s Head of Africa-China Integration, Dr Manessah Alagbaoso, explains that Standard Bank’s experience in facilitating Africa-China trade, provides the assurance to clients in how to access trusted market opportunities in China while also receiving finance and guidance on the requirements for bringing their specific product into China.

He explains that there is immense opportunity for agricultural sector players to export products for which there is high demand in China such as nuts, avocados, fruits, teas, sesame and sorghum.

The ACEP opens the door for these types of products and related by-products to be introduced to the Chinese import industry. Chenshia Group and Axis Group International (have in-depth understanding of the Chinese landscape and its unique protocols. These agents have a long history of successfully introducing brands into the Chinese market.

To demonstrate the ACEP’s potential and capability, Standard Bank has invited 91 clients who are existing exporters from six countries in its African footprint including South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Mozambique, Angola and Ghana to join its activities at the CIIE this year, which, Alagbaoso says, is the dominant import trade show in China and provides the “perfect backdrop for ACEP’s launch”.

The CIIE provides a unique and exclusive opportunity for Chinese importers to interface with exporters from around the world. Standard Bank, in partnership with ICBC, will be introducing its African clients to interested Chinese importers. “This should kick-start what we are hoping to achieve with the ACEP.”

He adds that through ACEP, Standard Bank hopes to see at least one national product from each African country on China’s list of approved export products. This, he says, will contribute towards easing Africa’s trade imbalance.

“It is our business imperative to drive growth across the continent and a key growth area is export. By matching African exporters with Chinese importers, and acting as the trusted facilitator for these activities, we aim to create a seamless trade corridor that benefits the prosperity of African countries and their communities thereby unlocking China to drive Africa’s growth.”

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