Trade facilitation is important for increasing opportunities in Africa, especially contributing to economic growth and poverty reduction.
(READ MORE: Intra-Africa trade still hampered by infrastructure deficit)
Analysts argue that trade in the region is under threat due to a slump in commodity prices.
Jason Barrass, head of trade and working capital at Barclays Africa said regardless of the challenges in the commodities space, there was positive sentiment in the industry.
“If one looks at the growth rate we are seeing in the continent, it is easier to tell the positive growth rate coming from Africa compared to other countries in Europe and Asia where there is a slump,” said Barrass.
Barrass added that the majority of trade around the continent involves smaller clients, people without access to the finance they need.
“Barclays banks a lot of clients from small scale to large scale. We are very adept at looking for solutions from a product perspective,” he added.
“We have an interesting angle around supply finance, whereby we use larger credit quality of a large corporate to use their credit risk to provide financing terms to some of the smaller clients who can’t get it,” he said.
Global Trade Review Conference that was held last week in Cape Town said there was need to look for alternatives financing in the region.
He urged the industry to look at new strategies of financing which might include financing structures and financing funds.
Barrass said there was increasing trade finance assets in Europe and the US especially post-global recession period urging Africa to explore that option.
“The trade finance assets are becoming attractive because they are self-liquidating and short dated making the risk profile very different,” he added.