Zenpay Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Zenith Bank Plc, has signed an Agreement with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat for the development and deployment of the SMARTAfCFTA Portal to facilitate trade within the African continent.

The agreement which was signed by the Chairman of Zenpay Limited, Dr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu and the Secretary-General of the AfCFTA Secretariat, His Excellency Wamkele Mene, at Zenith Bank Headquarters, Ajose Adeogun Street, Victoria Island, Lagos on Friday, May 3, 2024 comes as a follow-up to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which was previously signed by both parties during the 8th Annual Edition of Zenith Bank’s International Trade Seminar on Non-Oil Export which was held on Wednesday, August 8, 2023.

During the agreement signing, Dr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu, Chairman of Zenpay Limited, expressed his enthusiasm for the collaboration with the AfCFTA Secretariat, highlighting its significance given the current understanding of trade flows in Africa. Dr. Onyeagwu noted, “In Africa, intra-African trade constitutes only about 20% of total trade, with the rest going overseas, despite Africans making up 18% of the world population but contributing less than 5% to global GDP. By trading within Africa, we anticipate building prosperity across the continent.”

He further stated, “This initiative is not driven by profit but by the need to support the African Continental Free Trade Area. It aims to create a unified African market, enhancing economic integration and standardising customs and practices. As we advance this agenda, we expect tosee significant growth and improvement in intra-Africa trade.”

Also speaking during the agreement signing, His Excellency, Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General of the AfCFTA Secretariat, shared his delight over the partnership with Zenpay Limited in developing SMARTAfCFTA. He appreciated Jim Ovia, CFR, Founder and Chairman of Zenith Bank Plc, for his commitment to the project. According to him, “Four years ago, we discussed and envisioned SMARTAfCFTA as a digital platform to empower SMEs and young entrepreneurs in Africa, facilitating their inclusion in trade and boosting intra-African trade. This platform will serve as a repository for crucial trade data, offering insights on rules of origin and market intelligence, thus playing a pivotal role in implementing the AfCFTA agreement. Today is a testament that working together with our African partners in this case, Zenith bank, shows that their commitment goes beyond their progit margins to their stakeholders, but are motivated by our shared duty towards the Continent.”

Speaking about the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) alongside the SMARTAfCFTA portal,  H.E. Mene described PAPSS as “Africa’s payment highway.” He clarified that, unlike PAPSS, SMARTAfCFTA is not a payment platform itself but will be interoperable with PAPSS, allowing functionalities that facilitate easy payments. He emphasised that these platforms complement each other; they are not in competition. “We promote and encourage only one payment platform—PAPSS. Our goal is to integrate the digital ecosystem we are developing into PAPSS. We are committed to fostering innovation within this framework, ensuring it supports a seamless continental payment system without creating competition among platforms.”

SMARTAfCFTA is a digital platform designed to facilitate international trade by providing the necessary information and tools to the African private and public sectors. The Portal aims to streamline and unlock vast opportunities for trade across the African continent, and has the capacity to provide information like trade indicators, market trends, custom tariffs, trade agreements, Rules of Origin, market access requirements of relevant jurisdictions, export potentials, export diversification indicators and contact details of business partners in target markets and other trade-related information about Africa.

About ZENPAY Ltd 

Zenpay Ltd is a private limited liability company duly incorporated under the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as a wholly owned subsidiary of Zenith Bank Plc. The company. It is a one-stop revolutionary financial technology (Fintech) company responsible for digital innovation and payments.

About the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) 

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is one of the flagship projects of Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want and entered into force on 30 May 2019. It is a high ambition trade agreement, which aims to bring together all 55 Member States of the African Union, covering a market of more than 1.3 billion people, with a comprehensive scope that includes critical areas of Africa’s economy, such as digital trade and investment protection, amongst other areas. By eliminating barriers to trade in Africa, the objective of the AfCFTA is to significantly boost intra-Africa trade, particularly trade in value-added production and trade across all services sectors of Africa’s economy, at a potential of 52.3 percent. 

For further information, please contact: 

Sunday Enebeli-Uzor, Head, Corporate Communications | Zenith Bank Plc | E-mail: sunday.enebeli-uzor@zenithbank.com | Lagos, Nigeria 

Ayoola Kusimo, Corporate Communications | Zenith Bank Plc | E-mail: ayoola.kusimo@zenithbank.com | Lagos, Nigeria 

Ms. Grace Khoza, Principal Communications Advisor | African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat | E-mail: Grace.Khoza@au-afcfta.org | Accra, Ghana  

Ms. Elydora Matubanzila, Communications Officer | African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat| E-mailElydora.Matubanzila@au-afcfta.org | Accra, Ghana 

Communication | Marketing | Advocacy Division, African Continental Free Trade Area |  


To find out more, please visit our website: https://au-afcfta.org , https://zenithbank.com

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