African Export-Import bank  (AfrexIm Bank) in partnership with the West African Monetary Union and other relevant entities are working on a Pan-African Payment Platform which will enable African countries to trade in their local currencies.

Mona Lisa Dube

Afrexim Bank Southern Africa Manager Humprey Nwugo said intra- Africa trade has been difficult due the letter of credits which have to be cleared in United States Dollars.

“We found that this was some of the issues that are affecting Intra- African Trade. For example a Zimbabwean that would want to import from Ghana will  have to open a letter of Credit which is cleared in New York in United States dollars which makes it expensive”, Nwugo said.

“The best thing to do is encourage Africans to trade using their own currency and you have to find a supra national entity to guarantee that exchange so that is what we are doing at the moment,” he said.

Nwugo said they were expecting the first pilot of the Pan African Payment Platform to be launched before year end where over 40 African currencies are expected to trade.

Apart from currency issues, the African Trade Report cites lack of information as one of the major reasons for the poor trade among African countries.