ICC and Africa Investor aim at digitizing 5 million African SMEs

ICC and Africa Investor aim at digitizing 5 million African SMEs

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and Africa Investor (Ai) have partnered to launch a digitally empowered eTrade initiative to enable the digitization of five million micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Africa.

The partnership aims to accelerate the digitization and intra African and global market access for millions of African SMEs, in support of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

In line with ICC’s efforts to make technology work for all, and Africa investor’s, AfricaPLC industrial eTrade and Fintech marketplace platform, the partnership will mobilise a worldwide network of multi-national companies, African Corporates, chambers of commerce, media organisations and academic institutions, to provide market access, tools and training programs to digitise SMEs in Africa.

ICC and Africa investor (Ai), will work with their global network of businesses and local chambers of commerce to roll out the inititive through the AfricaPLC platform to connect African SMEs with business opportunities in Africa.

In its initial phase, the platform will function as a directory for SMEs,  to harness the full potential of ecommerce under the African Continental Free Trade Area, which is set to begin in January 2021.

The AfricaPLC platform will also establish the Digital Sustainable Procurement Champions Community (DSPCC) – a collection of leading multinational and African companies working on the African continent – to support and ensure the digitization of SMEs within their supply chains.

ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton said: “We are extremely proud to announce ICC’s partnership with Africa investor (Ai) to digitize five million SMEs in Africa. In the face of persisting the economic consequences of COVID-19, it’s critical that African governments, businesses, chambers of commerce, and regional organisations unite to maximise the benefits of the digital economy for all.

“From women- and youth-led businesses to local start-ups and entrepreneurs, this campaign will enable all SMEs in Africa to grow sustainably, reach new markets, and build back better from the pandemic,” added Denton.

Working with African business and chambers leaders, the campaign will develop policy recommendations to assist governments, partners, and policymakers, make informed policy decisions to expand sustainable development, digital inclusion and eTrade opportunities in support of the AfCFTA. The campaign will facilitate access to trade and supply chain finance, digital logistics, trade data, as well as capacity building and training tools for SMEs across Africa.

“We are delighted to partner with the ICC to launch the ICC-Ai AfricaPLC Digitise 5 million SME’s Campaign, and launch the AfricaPLC eTrade platform, in collaboration with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, to support African SME’s trade digitally from January 1 2021, the official operational launch of the AfCFTA, said Hubert Danso, CEO and Chairman of Africa investor said.

“This innovative African-global private sector eTrade partnership, directly supports the pursuit of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the African Continental Free Trade Area and the African Union’s Agenda 2063,” concluded Danso.

The campaign will be supported by the Ai eTrade Institute and ICC’s Centre of Entrepreneurship, a pioneering initiative to prepare and mobilise the next generation of entrepreneurs around the world.