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Africa: Banks Pivotal to Success of AfCFTA – Akinwuntan

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The Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Mr. Patrick Akinwuntan has said the success of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will rely heavily on the financial services industry’s ability to facilitate the liberalisation process.

Akinwuntan, who made this submission at a webinar titled: “Exploring Nigeria’s Readiness for the African Continental Free Trade Area,” organised by Deloitte, maintained that the banking industry in Nigeria was ready for the implementation of the AfCFTA.

The continental deal, according to the Ecobank boss would be responsible for facilitating transactions, mobilising savings, allocating capital funds and monitoring managers so that the funds allocated would be utilised as envisaged, as well as managing risks.

Akinwuntan said: “Nigeria banks have strong capital and their operating synergies have been tremendous for the past five years particularly in the digital banking space. Nigeria is a leading player on the continent in payments required to facilitate trade; mobilisation of savings required to galvanise the economy; focus on the SME segment, which is the largest employer of labour especially in the critical industries such as agriculture as Africa is a continent that is rich in commodities; education of our teeming population and health.”

Furthermore, the Ecobank Managing Director said for financial institutions to adequately play their expected roles, they would need to drive value creation by developing new technologies, scaling its payment infrastructure and methods to a pan African play to serve the diversified economies expected from the agreement.