AfCFTA offers tech players access to larger market to compete – Summitech boss

The implementation of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement will offer the tech industry players the opportunity to access larger markets that will facilitate Pan-African competition, Adekunle Kunle-Hassan, managing director/CEO of Summitech Computing Limited, has said.

Speaking at Techgrind Africa, a virtual event organised recently by Summitech Computing Limited with the theme ‘What Opportunities Does AFCTA hold for the Tech Sector in Africa?’ he said technology will also play a pivotal role towards actualising the goals of AfCFTA.

He however advised industry players to incorporate the opportunities the trade agreement brings into their immediate plans in order to take advantage of them.

“Business movements such as mergers and acquisitions and funding from venture capitalists are to be expected to drive expansion of thriving tech brands into major participating markets. There is need for heightened interest of major players in the tech space as this agreement is pivotal to its success. If there is a better time to start thinking of positioning to reap its gains, it is now,” Kunle-Hassan explained.

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He however noted that policymakers as well as technology companies in major markets need to partner and create an understanding of policies and operations to enable cross-border trade.

In terms of payment, other discussants at the event, believed that the African Union (AU) in collaboration with African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim bank) will develop an Africa-wide digital payment system that will domesticate intra-regional payments.

Timilehin Ogunyemi, head of Business Operations at Kudi, said Fintechs will innovate off the Pan-African payments and settlement infrastructure while the current relationship between banks and Fintech will also replicate itself.

“Banks will still hold money as settlements in itself is definitely not instant, but the numbers will move instantly among customers. The system creates an enabling environment for Fintechs to come in and facilitate payments,” Ogunyemi said.

He said that though the AU and Afrexim bank will focus on building the infrastructure that determines exchange rates across African countries, Fintechs will facilitate the actual payment platforms that will ease exchange of money during transactions.

Ayodeji Ajilore, equity research analyst, CSL Stockbrokers Limited, said economies across the Africa will be reshaped as some sectors will be phased out while others will be essential.

He listed Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) as sector that will still remain critical to the African economy in the wake of the AfCFTA agreement.

“Logistics, telecommunications and financial services like insurance, will thrive as traders will need insurance policies for the cross-country movement of goods. But technology will be a platform upon which all these sectors will stand to operate,” he added.

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