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Statement at the Conclusion of an IMF Staff Mission to Liberia

Trade and commerce in Africa has received a major boost with the introduction of three trade related products; Afritrade, AfriCard and AfriCash by United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc. These unique products have been designed by UBA to facilitate trade transactions across the continent.

The three products which were launched in Lagos on Wednesday September 29, 2010 will leverage on the growing continental presence of UBA, currently in nineteen African countries.

While launching the products in Lagos, Group Director, e-Banking and Retail Products United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, Mr. Ike Onyenokwe said that the products were conceived to ease the stress associated with business transactions and payment processes across borders within Africa.

Onyenokwe said the Afritrade product is designed to give customers convenience in payments to third party in any part of the continent. According to him, “Customers of Afritrade are required to apply for trade transaction at any UBA business office with necessary documents while the initiating UBA location advises the benefiting UBA location in the country of the beneficiary and on receipt of transaction message, beneficiary is notified immediately via phone/e-mail and official written notification is sent within 24hours enclosing original copy of the transaction instrument where applicable, and goods are shipped (or services rendered) by beneficiary. Documents are presented by beneficiary and examined by UBA staff for regulatory compliance. Claim for value of documents is sent to initiating UBA location and documents sent by courier. Payment is made to beneficiary within 24hours of submission of compliant claim.”

He listed benefits of the Afritrade to the customer to include; significant cost savings to the customer as it provides lower charges than normal local tariff for trade transactions, Real-Time trade payments into accounts within Union Economique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine (UEMOA) and Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) regions, faster resolution of discrepancies, same Day completion of Intra-African Transactions by leveraging on our business offices across Africa and not international correspondent banks among others.

In addition, Onyenokwe described ‘AfriCard’, as a Visa Prepaid debit card variant which is set up without need for the customer to own/operate a bank account with UBA. “It is a naira denominated card that is pre-funded and re-loadable and is internationally accepted in all Visa acceptance points” he noted.

However, he noted that the previously introduced ‘AfriCash’ has been repositioned to target financial remittances from individuals and groups within Africa which have increased dramatically over the past decade. He emphasised that the UBA AfriCash is available in all the 19 countries where the bank has presence including, Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Cameroon, Uganda, Chad, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Benin, Gabon, Guinea, Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania, Mozambique, Congo Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo and still counting.

The bank’s Group Managing Director, Mr. Phillips Oduoza in his remark noted that the introduction of the new products is premised on the value proposition by UBA as it consolidates its operations in the continent. “Our continent is full of potentials and intra-country trade within the continent will see the potentials translating into growth and development, and that is exactly what these products bring to African trade and commerce,” said Oduoza.

United Bank for Africa Plc is one of Africa’s leading financial institutions offering universal banking services to more than 7.5 million customer accounts from over 750 branches across Africa.

With presence in New York, London, and Paris as well as other major financial hubs, UBA combines strong local knowledge of Africa and global expertise to connect people and businesses across Africa and the world through retail and corporate banking, innovative cross-border payments, trade finance and investment banking making it the bank of choice for Africans and African-related businesses globally.

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