By Amadou Labba Sall

African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and FCI concluded a two-day conference last week in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, to promote factoring and receivables finance in the Central Africa region. The event which held during 12-13 May, attracted about 250 participants from 15 countries in finance, legal and business sectors, as well as government, regulators and policy makers.

Organised by Afreximbank and FCI in collaboration with the Government of the Republic of Congo, the National Directorate of the Bank of Central African States (BEAC) and Banque Postale du Congo, the Central Africa Regional Promotion conference on Factoring and Receivables Finance was opened by Mr. Rigobert Roger Andely, Minister of Finance, Budget and Public Portfolio of the Republic of Congo, alongside Mrs. Kanayo Awani, Managing Director of Afreximbank’s Intra-African Trade Initiative and Chairperson of the Africa Chapter of FCI, and Mr. Peter Mulroy, Secretary General of FCI.

They were joined by Mrs. Ingrid Ebouka Babackas, Minister for Planning, Mr. Panzou Bayone, Deputy National Director of the Central Bank of Central African States (BEAC), Mr. Calixte Tabangoli, CEO of Banque Postale du Congo, among others.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Rigobert Roger Andely, highlighted the importance of factoring in supporting the growth of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and creating jobs in the Congolese economy. He stated that the promulgation of two new laws on factoring and leasing was testament to the government’s commitment to support SMEs. The promulgation of the laws where envisioned by the President of the Republic of Congo, His Excellency, Denis Sassou Nguesso to facilitate access to finance by SMEs. Mr. Andely called on the judicial system to ensure utmost diligence in adjudicating any disputes and on the Central Bank to undertake the necessary reforms in terms of quality of information and centralization of information on credit to support the growth of factoring. He also stressed the need for capacity building and continuous stakeholder engagement for businesses to take full advantage of the product.

In her opening remarks, Mrs. Kanayo Awani conveyed the commendations of the President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank, Professor Oramah to the Government of the Republic of Congo for the visionary leadership in recognizing the need to support and integrate SMEs into the regional and continental value chains through factoring. This will ensure that they maximize the opportunities created under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Mrs. Awani reiterated Afreximbank’s commitment in promoting factoring as it provides alternative financing to SMEs who are the bedrock of economic growth in Africa and a critical piece to the realization of the aspirations and ambitions of Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want.

“To accelerate the growth of factoring in Africa to reach €50 billion by 2025 as projected by FCI, we believe that one of the critical success factors for unleashing the power of a thriving factoring industry in Africa is the promulgation of a factoring law that creates a conducive legal and regulatory environment for factoring to thrive,” said Mrs. Awani. “Afreximbank stands ready to provide the requisite support, including the technical capacity needed for the design and development of a factoring law in other CEMAC countries and Africa as a whole, while also supporting its practical implementation in the Republic of Congo.”

Also speaking, Mr. Peter Mulroy, Secretary General of FCI said that the Republic of Congo’s recent adoption of a Factoring Law marks a new era for the Central Africa Region.
“I am confident that with the passage of the new factoring law, factoring will take root and bloom throughout the region. The Republic of Congo is a trailblazer, being only the second country in Central Africa after Cameroon in 2014”.

About Afreximbank

African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is a Pan-African multilateral financial institution mandated to finance and promote intra-and extra-African trade. Afreximbank deploys innovative structures to deliver financing solutions that support the transformation of the structure of Africa’s trade, accelerating industrialization and intra-regional trade, thereby boosting economic expansion in Africa. A stalwart supporter of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), Afreximbank has launched a Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) that was adopted by the African Union (AU) as the payment and settlement platform to underpin the implementation of the AfCFTA. Afreximbank is working with the AU and the AfCFTA Secretariat to develop an Adjustment Facility to support countries in effectively participating in the AfCFTA. At the end of 2021, the Bank’s total assets and guarantees stood at about US$25 billion, and its shareholder funds amounted to US$4 billion. Afreximbank disbursed more than US$51 billion between 2016 and 2021. The Bank has ratings assigned by GCR (international scale) (A-), Moody’s (Baa1), Japan Credit Rating Agency (JCR) (A-) and Fitch (BBB). The Bank is headquartered in Cairo, Egypt.

About FCI

FCI is the Global Representative Body for Factoring and Financing of Open Account Domestic and International Trade Receivables. FCI was set up in 1968 as a non-profit global association. With today close to 400 member companies in more than 90 countries, FCI offers a unique network for cooperation in cross-border factoring. Member transactions represent nearly 60% of the world’s international correspondent factoring volume.
FCI is a non-exclusive organization, open to any company which is providing Factoring Services or plans to set up Factoring Activities but also to service providers to the industry.
FCI offers three major areas of activities:
CONNECT: the Business network supports cross-border factoring activities through which its members cooperate as export and import factors
EDUCATE: FCI promotes and develops best practices in both domestic and international factoring and related Open Account Finance products
INFLUENCE: FCI promotes and defends the Industry with stakeholders and policy makers worldwide.

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