By Rashidat Okunlade

Sterling Bank, one of the leading commercial banks in Nigeria and a member of Sterling Financial Holdings Company PLC, in partnership with the Africa Export-Import Bank and Woodhall Capital, has launched AFREXIMBANK Tradelink, a new and innovative digital solution for supply chain financing in Nigeria.

The innovation is launched under the aegis of the Africa Trade Gateway (ATG), to provide banks across the continent with the tools to gather market information, connect buyers and sellers across the continent, and facilitate payments in local currencies across African countries. The launch event held in Lagos, makes Sterling Bank the pioneer bank for Nigeria.

Left-Right: Olufunmilayo Lewis, Group Chief Risk Officer, Sterling Financial Holdings Company, Haytham El-Mayeergi, Executive Vice President, Global Trade Bank at African Export-Import Bank, and Ms Gwen Mwaba, Director & Global Head Trade Finance at African Export-Import Bank, at the launch of the Afreximbank TradeLink digital SCF solution in Lagos recently

This partnership between AFREXIMBANK and Sterling Bank is a unique and innovative arrangement that leverages the complementary strengths of both institutions to provide a comprehensive, market-leading solution to Nigerian corporations and their suppliers. Under the partnership arrangement, USD and EUR financing is provided by AFREXIMBANK, and Sterling Bank provides NGN financing. Suppliers to Nigerian corporates can thus benefit from financing in both local and foreign currency, as per their requirements.

Abubakar Suleiman, Managing Director of Sterling Bank, commented: “Sterling Bank is committed to meeting the trade finance needs of Nigerian corporates and their suppliers and we are proud to introduce this much-needed product in partnership with AFREXIMBANK for the benefit of Nigerian businesses.”

Olufunmilayo Lewis, Group Chief Risk Officer for Sterling Financial Holdings Company PLC, presented this comment to the gathering of industry stakeholders.

Speaking on behalf of the bank, Lewis said “The impact of our initiative extends far beyond individual businesses. At its core, our Supply Chain Finance Product acts as a catalyst for economic growth and stability, not only in Nigeria but across the continent. By fortifying the financial health of suppliers, we stimulate economic activity, foster job creation, and drive sustainable development.”

Lewis said, “This collaboration underscores the power of partnerships in driving positive change. By leveraging the strengths of both AFREXIMBANK and Sterling Bank, we amplify our collective impact and pave the way for a more resilient and inclusive economy.”

Commenting on the partnership, Gwen Mwaba, Director & Global Head of Trade Finance, AFREXIMBANK said: “The launch in Nigeria is a first step in AFREXIMBANK’s plans to introduce Payables Finance across Africa in partnership with leading African financial institutions. The product, which will deploy world-class technology and a collaborative delivery model, aligns with the Bank’s vision of Transforming Africa’s Trade, and will contribute towards the achievement of the Bank’s strategic objective of reducing the trade-finance gap in Africa, especially for the SME segment.”

Payables Finance is the fastest-growing trade finance product globally and there is an enormous opportunity for African businesses to benefit from this product, adopting the latest technologies that are now available.

Renowned for its now famous HEART of Sterling strategy; its irreverent brand voice and enviable talent management practices, Sterling recently received three citations for Company Leadership Gender Diversity, Gender Diversity in Supply Chain, and Family-Friendly Workplace as bestowed by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) at the Gender Leader Awards 2023, and was named as one of the fastest growing companies in Africa for 2023 by the prestigious Financial Times.

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