It has been established that if the continent of Africa can increase trade between African countries to the global average – that is from 12 per cent to 50 per cent – the continent will be far less reliant on global trade and investment for its own growth.
Zweli Manyathi, Chief Executive PBB at Standard Bank stated this in Lagos at the Standard Bank Group Trans Regional Conference.
He said this will also mean that, for the first time in history Africa will be able to set and drive its own investment and growth agenda independently.
Standard Bank is escalating its highly successful trans-regional trade and business conferences into a broadly inclusive pan-African initiative aimed at driving collective growth across the continent.
Standard Bank has hosted two previous conferences in2016: in Accra focusing on West Africa, and in Nairobi focusing on East Africa. These separate gatherings brought together clients and key Standard Bank trade experts and client relationship managers from the countries in each of these regions.
“Our previous conferences showed us the scale of the opportunity for growing intra-African trade, especially the potential for cross-border trade, to change the growth trajectory of the continent,” said Manyathi.
In addition to providing critical insight into how best to help clients leverage Africa’s full cross-border potential, “we also realized that increasing trade was a pan-African, and not just a regional opportunity, for the continent,” he added.
Standard Bank’s broad and established footprint across the continent, as a universal financial organisation, its sector expertise and networked global capital market presence, including high level access to the Chinese banking system, means that, “gatherings of this nature can assemble, identify and unlock key intra-African trade and business opportunities – on a scale wide enough to transform Africa’s growth and development trajectory,” said Manyathi.
On average, regional trade accounts for about 50 per cent of most regions’ trade flows. In Asia, the world’s fastest growing region, regional trade accounts for up to 70 per cent of some countries’ trade flows. Since intra-regional trade in Africa currently accounts for only 12 per cent of trade flows, Standard Bank has identified the rapid promotion of continental trade as a key priority in achieving the kind of growth that will transform the lives of ordinary Africans.
By pioneering the dialogue across Africa’s broad trade, corporate and commercial ecosystem, facilitating partnerships for business development and boosting intra-Africa trade, Standard Bank hopes to build the foundations of sustainable long-term intra-African trade growth in sub-Saharan Africa.
This critical institutional relationship has resulted in various initiatives across the continent – from Renminbi trading, to Africa-China business centers, and landmark deals – that collectively constitute Standard Bank’s Africa-China trading corridor.