East Africa: Mansa Digital Platform to Boost SMEs in EAC

Arusha — Mansa digital platform will enable companies and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to trade confidently across Africa.

This will cut down the transaction cost of trading under the African Continental Free Trading Area (AfCFTA) with a huge market of 1.2billion consumers.

This was revealed in Kampala, Uganda early by John Bosco Kalisa, the executive director of the East African Business Council (EABC) where the facility is set for launch today.

The platform is Africa's centralised customer due diligence digital repository. It derives its name from Mansa Mussa, a former emperor of the Mali Empire in the 14th century.

He is credited for placing Africa on the world map through his immense wealth of gold which opened the trade routes across the continent.

In Uganda, the platform will be launched today by EABC in collaboration with the Private Sector Foundation of Uganda (PSFU) and Afreximbank.

Mr Kalisa said the facility will enhance preparedness for business in Uganda "in order to ably access and expand to the regional and continental markets."

This will, in turn, place the East African Community (EAC) on a recovery path from the devastating impacts of Covid-19 impacts.

He said Uganda's export earnings from coffee boosted, supporting economic resilience, adding that access to new markets for Uganda's surplus production is vital for recovery and growth.

Francis Kisirinya, acting PSPU executive director PSFU said the platform is free of charge and that it will reduce the cost of doing due diligence in the country.

Afreximbank has taken the lead role in creating a platform to address KYC/CDD issues, with a special focus on African financial institutions, corporate entities and SMEs.

Mr Kisirinya said PSFU in collaboration with EABC is committed to fast-track vaccination of 4.8 million people by December 2021, boost investments in health and trade buoyant sectors, elimination of NTBs and expansion to new markets as a recovery tactic.

Mr Fahadi Sensuwa, Head of MANSA Digital Initiatives said the Mansa Platform will attract more trade finance to Africa and support the transformation of SMEs growth into large enterprises.

He stated that the high cost of compliance and risk perception impacts access to finance for SMEs who form the backbone of our economies.

On September 1st this year, EABC and Afreximbank signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to roll out a digital platform with the aim to boost SMEs and intra-African trade.

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