Dr. Demola Sogunle, Chief Executive, Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC.

Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC, a subsidiary of Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC, has reiterated its commitment to the nation’s economic development by fostering international trade.

This was disclosed at the recent AfricaChina Agent Proposition (ACAP) webinar, themed “Advancing Africa-China Trade Opportunities.”

During the session, panellists discussed the challenges which confronted Nigeria-China trade relations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the impact of recent regulatory pronouncements on trade between both countries.

In his welcome address, Dr DemolaSogunle, Chief Executive, Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC, said that the organisation remained committed to facilitating trade activities for clients, even in the face of prevailing challenges.

Speaking on the launch of ACAP, Dr Sogunle said: “Stanbic IBTC launched ACAP in May 2019 to boost trade transactions between Africa and Asia, especially China, and helped customers consummate the best business deals without having to travel to China. These were made possible through our parent company, Standard Bank Group, in collaboration with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC).”

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Asides growing the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Sogunle stressed that the Africa-China trade has potentials to create more jobs and reduce poverty. He urged participants to take advantage of ACAP, which will give them the exclusive access to an array of exporters in China through an accredited agent, Zhejiang International Trading Supply Chain Co Ltd, also known as Guamao.

Guamao is a China-based agent appointed by ICBC and Standard Bank to assist African importers to execute trade seamlessly with China. Presently, Guamao has about 35,000 linked suppliers.

Ralph Deng, General Manager, Guamao, described the firm as an expert in procuring all kinds of products, raw materials and goods, with no restrictions in terms of size or volume of imports.

To free up cash-flows and help customers get more products with a reduced down payment to suppliers, Deng noted that a structured payment could be agreed on before an initial upfront payment is made.

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He said that full responsibility will be taken to rectify any default on behalf of the client, and that assistance can be given in providing a Chinese government invitation letter and help with logistics arrangements if the customer intends to travel to China to see suppliers.

LuthandoVuba, Head, Africa-China Trade, Standard Bank Group, highlighted the benefits of ACAP as easy sourcing of suppliers and goods, seamless negotiations, guaranteed quality and logistics convenience, amongst others.

Speaking on the ease of making payments, Sunny Gao, Head, Strategic Corporation China, Standard Bank Group, expressed availability of Letter of Credit (LCs), Bills or Telegraphic transfers, depending on the importer’s preference.

He said: “We issue Renminbi Letter of Credit (RMB LCs) to make payments for goods procured under ACAP whicheradicates the need to source foreign currency, thereby resulting in faster transactional turnaround time.”

Other panellists at the session were Gbolahan Taiwo, Regional Economist, Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC and Alastair McDougall, Chief Executive Officer, Avery Nigeria Limited.

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In his closing remarks, Wole Adeniyi, Chief Executive, Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC, said that the Bank gives its customers a competitive edge over other players and grow their business volumes.

He said: “Our goal is to become the ‘go-to’ bank as far as global trade is concerned, with emphasis on Africa-China trade. This proposition is of immense value to our clients and will help us achieve our fundamental purpose, which is to drive Africa’s growth.”

Wole Famurewa, the presenter of CNBC Africa’s daily markets programme,‘Closing Bell West Africa’, moderated the session.