Standard Bank on Friday launched its Africa China Agent Proposition (ACAP), which connects African importers and Chinese exporters and facilitates trade financing and payments and collections that support Africa–China trade flow, in South Africa.
The bank, with a considerable footprint in Africa, has developed the offering to help connect African businesses with Chinese suppliers.
The ACAP assists African importers in sourcing and validating quality goods, safely and efficiently, from the most competitive suppliers in China.
The ACAP offering is expected to enhance African importers’ view of China’s supplier universe, as well as the range and quality of goods imported.
To date, this trade enhancing tool has already been launched in Nigeria and Ghana.
Through its partnership with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), Standard Bank assists business by connecting them with a trade agent in China.
The Chinese trade agent will assist businesses in sourcing the correct suppliers, negotiating the best prices and trade conditions, arranging travel logistics to China to meet with various suppliers and the provision of translators to facilitate negotiations and discussions.
Moreover, it will assist in sourcing and validating the quality of goods, with a guarantee that the quality of goods from recommended suppliers will be rectified by the agent should they be inadequate.
The trade agent may also provide financing services based on a letter of credit from Standard Bank and the ICBC, if required.
The trade agent will also handle the shipping logistics.
For these services, the trade agent is paid a fee of either 3% or 5%, depending on the price of the goods that are imported.
Standard Bank, meanwhile, can assist with trade financing and facilitating payment and collections to help manage the risk of cross-border payments.
The bank has established the first Chinese trade agent – Zhejiang International Trading Supply Chain (Guomoa).
Guomoa provides a one-stop shop for foreign trade supply chain services, supply chain financial services and cross-border e-commerce supply chain services to assist African businesses trading in China.
Presently, Guomoa has almost 10 000 suppliers meeting the import needs of its clients and boasts 20 years of experience in foreign trade and procurement services.
Moreover, the agent will be available on Standard Bank’s digital networking platform, Standard Bank Trade Club, to facilitate easy connection. Creditworthy customers are eligible to join the trade club.
Speaking at the launch, Standard Bank South Africa Commercial and Business Banking head Craig Polkinghorne stressed the importance of the ACAP initiative, given that African businesses import considerable amounts of goods yearly.
He said Standard Bank’s strategic partnership with the ICBC positioned the bank well to manage both ends of the rapidly deepening Africa-China trade, investment and growth relationship.
The partnership combines the ICBC’S financial and global reach and local knowledge and expertise in Africa countries, enabling the facilitation of capital flow and cross-border trade between Africa and China.
Standard Bank Group Africa-China integration head Dr Manessah Alagbaoso indicated that, prior to developing the proposition, the bank had approached its clients to find out the issues they were facing in doing import and export business with China, and in which areas they required assistance.
One area of particular importance to clients is pre-shipment, which entails elements such as easy travel to China, connecting with credible suppliers and agents, validation of the quality of goods, the ability to pay for goods when due, and importing at the volume that supports the market.
Shipment and post-shipment are also areas of concern, with the expectations that these run efficiently, and with assistance from the bank in elements such as handling payment for shipments and insuring shipments that are in transit.
The ACAP aims to cater to these requirements.