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New 'Know Your Customer' Platform Targets Banks for Financing Continental Trade

Fahad Ssensuwa, the Africa EXIM bank lead person in East Africa, says the initiative, among other objectives, wanted to bring back international financing institutions that had left the African continent on grounds that it was hard and expensive to get information from the businesses in Africa.
From left Fahad Ssensuwa,the Exim bank representative during a brief at PSFU

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The African Export – Import Bank (Exim Bank) is embarking on registering all companies and traders on the African continent under one platform as a means of easing information access required for business transactions.

Under this system all business details will be registered, verified and then published on the MANSA platform for accessibility by those interested to transact business with a given trader or company at both continental and beyond.

Fahad Ssensuwa, the Africa EXIM bank lead person in East Africa, says the initiative, among other issues, wanted to bring back international financing institutions that had left the African continent on grounds that it was hard and expensive to get information from the businesses in Africa.

//cue in;’’To bring back…

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Luganda

//Cue in;’Mu 2015 banks …

Cue in…zaffe entini’’//

Ssensuwa says these international banks feared risks that would come out due to lack of credible information including fraud, money laundering hence leaving the continent. This left some banks and organisations lacking funding.

Now the African Exim bank, a continental trade finance bank, is looking at this system as a source of information which can be used by these international financing institutions without struggling.

The required information is registration status of the business, owners, shareholders, directors, location, size of business, goods, compliance level (here the businesses will be required to fill in a questionnaire) , name of the business company and all other information that describes the business clearly. 

Already some banks intending to benefit from the initiative have joined the platform and among them is Absa Bank Uganda limited, DFCU bank, Cairo bank, Opportunity bank, Ecobank Uganda, Finance Trust bank, NCBA bank and Tropical bank.

Francis Kisirinya, the Acting Executive Director Private Sector Foundation Uganda -PSFU says they will be mobilizing all the business community in Uganda to tap into this opportunity.

He says working together with the East African Business Council they will be sensitizing the business community in Uganda to register all the required data about their business in a transparent manner to efficiently qualify for the platform and its benefits like the wide market opportunities.

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Kisirinya assured the business community that the platform is intended to facilitate trade on the continent and not for any other reason .He says several business people have a thinking that business data is always collected for government taxing .

He also adds that the are targeting all the traders who will be found meeting the required standards in the country as the registration has no limit in numbers.

John Bosco Kalisa, the Chief Executive Officer East African Business Council -EABC says the initiative should be a drive to the African Free Trade Continental Area treaty that will see African countries transacting business without import taxes.

He adds that the platform is critical as with its information available products will be tracked to their origin which is one of the key issues in the treaty.

Meanwhile Ssensuwa also indicates that all the businesses that will be verified and registered on the MANSA platform will get an opportunity to transact their cross border businesses without being required to carry out foreign exchange.

He explains that the system is ensuring that all the business transactions are directly carried out through the commercial banks, which banks will also be on the same platform and there will be no need for exchange of currency.

//cue in;’’First of all…

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Ssensuwa says the panAfrican payment and settlement system will help the traders to reduce the costs and time spent exchanging local currencies to foreign exchange before transacting any cross border business.

Here traders especially the Small and Medium Enterprises -SMEs will be required to use the registered commercial banks and telecom companies on the system and pay the required money for the transaction and then it will be the bank to ensure that the other party also receives the money in their local currency without any additional fees from the initial amount of the transaction process.

Luganda

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Issa Ssekitto, the Kampala City Traders Association Spokesperson an Association an umbrella for the business community with over 20,000 traders, says the arrangement sounds good but they will wait for the official launch of the initiative to be able to understand it more.

‘’Our Association has both importers and exporters who will be potential target for the initiative however, we should wait for its official launch for a better understanding appreciation,’’ says Ssekitto. 

  

The MANSA online system will officially be launched in Uganda on October 20, 2021 at Serena hotel in Kampala. 

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