KAMPALA– With the current prevailing trends, the digital space is taking centre stage and doing trade without embracing this is becoming a hurdle. In the efforts to drive businesses to the next level, across the continent and allover the global market.
AFREXIMBANK, Private Sector Foundation of Uganda (PSFU), East Africa Business Council and other players have launched the first ever due diligence MANSA digital platform.
This great milestone was launched on Wednesday, October 20, at Serena Hotel Kampala.
In his remarks opening remarks, Francis Kisirinya, Ag.Executive Director, PSFU said that he was delighted to join the team and he extends his gratitude.
He retariated that MANSA comes at a time when Small Medium Enterprises need to push their businesses across the region with at least a centralized approach to deal with each other.
“Locally as PSFU, it takes us UGX. 5m for due diligence and just imagine across East Africa. This will help us bridge the gap of access to finance and information which is usually the reason many companies run around. Many businesses rely on short term loans and this platform will work on that through information and it’s the reason why most banks are on board though I know some initiatives like MANSA come and takes time because usually people are slow to join” Said Kisirinya.
He also pledged their support in regard to sensitizing the business sector as much as possible and encouraging them to register.
John Bosco Kalisa, the Executive Director, East African Business Council thanked all the partners who have been with them from the beginning to that point in time.
“This platform gives an opportunity for our members to benefit from the Africa Free Continental Trade Area( AfCFTA). The World Bank did a report, it says that East Africa is doing best and this was greatly done by the private sector.We are here to launch this initiative to understand what challenges our businesses are facing. I’m happy we are going to undertake this and PSFU is our focal point. MANSA is to de-risk our businesses since we have mistrust among our borrowers and this is the solution. Out of 28 banks, already 10 have joined and this an opportunity to trade which p will help them recover from effects of the pandemic” added Kalisa.
Simon Kaheru, the Vice Chairman EABC stressed that the begining of trade is trust and we are all buyers or sellers in any way and that trust is crucial in growing trade as he prays for the public sector to take interest in this.
“We are launching MANSA a game changer that will transform both small and big companies. This name came from Musa MANSA one of the wealthiest traders in the 14th century and we should trade as Africans than our ancestors back then. Let us take every step important and embrace it. This will be possible if the private sector gets on board and we need to go beyond borders so that we trade and use AfCFTA. East Africa does alot and we have some of the best products that come from us for instance coffee, textile among others yet all this money is not here. We are committed to growing business with our partners like AFREXIMBANK so that we make this an anthem that shall be danced and sung to. Musa was the richest trader in gold, today it is information and let us turn this into trade and make our countries better” . Said Kaheru.
Kudakwashe Matereke, Regional Chief Operating Officer, AFREXIMBANK East Africa explained that it was arranged to promote trade between SME’s.
“Trade is important and it is one of the reasons we know each other.The bank was established in 1993 and it is championing trade across Africa.We need to come up with our solutions to solve our problems, we offer credit, guarantees,advisory services, export development and recently we signed an agreement in Kigali to have an Export Fund. Over 51 member countries joined the bank and left are Somalia, Libya, Algeria and El- Sarawi. We have been part of AfCFTA and have a lot of products which can traded amongst each other despite the fact that we are in tough times. We need to unwind and trade with each other and are working hard that Africa receives over 400m vaccines so that economies are ready to open”.Kudakwashe added.
Notably, the MANSA space is ready to roll out in other East African countries after Uganda will promote good governance, transparency, accountability, boost international trade with Africa through lower cost of compliance for entities, reducing the perceived risks of trading in Africa and mitigating of those challenges and reduce on information gathering regarding documentation among others.