At the recently concluded Ghana Accountancy and Finance Awards, 2021, Bank of Africa Ghana Limited (BOA) was named the leading Trade Finance Bank of the Year among other distinguished banks.
The honor is in recognition of the bank’s excellent creative solutions for facilitating and developing cross-border trade for local firms, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with export potential, on the continent and even beyond.
What Sets Bank of Africa Ghana Apart
Deputy Managing Director of BOA Ghana, Youssef Benrhafiane, spoke about the bank’s cross-border trade strategy, saying that as companies all over the country strive to explore export opportunities and become important participants in the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) market, the bank is capitalizing on its branches in over 18 African countries to enhance financial transactions.
Per the deputy managing director, Bank of Africa Ghana has taken advantage of its huge customer base and solid interconnected network platform in Ghana’s neighboring French-speaking countries to establish trade financing initiatives that may help companies comprehend and explore the particular peculiarities of these markets.
This, combined with other distinctive professional consulting services provided at no additional cost to firms, set them apart from their trade financing competitors.
“So, for instance, the ‘concept of avalisation of a Bill’ which is the act of having a third party (usually a bank or lending institution) guarantee the obligations of a buyer to a seller per the terms of a contract, such as a promissory note or purchase agreement, is something that is dominant in these French-speaking countries, but we believe that local businesses as trade partners of these other countries should be able to benefit from this system and we are helping businesses to access this facility in their trans-border trade.
“We have positioned ourselves as trade finance experts to help businesses with their due diligence processes, risk assessment, accessing trade opportunities and data analysis, among others.”Youseef Benrhafiane, deputy Managing Director
In contrast to other commercial banks, Mr. Benrhafiane also stated that the bank is optimistic in generating a large portion of its intended revenue from trade fees and charges rather than just interest on loans and exchange rates. He stated that the bank is trying to be creative in their revenue-generating plan.
Moreover, Musah Abdul-Rahman, Head, Cross Border Trade & Business Synergy, BOA-Ghana, clarified that the bank is well familiar with the issues faced by SMEs in terms of limited resources and capacity and that top-class professionals from the bank’s 18 operating countries are always open to provide value-added services to clients who use their services to conduct business at no additional cost.
“Let me emphasize that one thing we also do for clients beyond our core banking services is help validate products in other countries on behalf of clients and even advance payments when the need be to avert any demurrage or extra charges.
“So, the fear of the unknown has been eliminated by our presence in these markets. Businesses want to know the market conditions, regulatory framework and macroeconomics status, which we offer to them through our professionals.”Musah Abdul-Rahman