By Chuks Emele
Mansa, a digital platform introduced by African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), aims to be a due diligence database where the credentials of African business entities can be verified ahead of transactions.
It will serve as “a single source of the primary data required for customer due diligence and know-your-customer checks on African entities, including financial institutions, corporates and SMEs, in accordance with best practices,” the Cairo based export-import bank said in an emailed statement.
The platform, which came into effect on 30 November, is named after Mansa Musa, the 14th century Emperor of Mali who spearheaded trade with the Middle East, and at a time controlled the flow of gold between Africa and the Mediterranean.
These steps are in preparation for the start of the African Continental Free Trade Area in the January, which will also herald the Pan-African Payments and Settlements System that will enable people across Africa engage in payments and bills settlements without foreign intermediaries.
“We have created Mansa as the solution to the negative impact on Africa, such as de-risking, the withdrawal of correspondent banking relationships and cuts in trade finance and investment financial flows to Africa,” said Benefict Oramah, the president of Afreximbank in the statement. “In a fragmented continent of 55 countries that hardly traded among themselves since they became colonies, Mansa offers an opportunity to begin bringing down the borders.”
In its starting phase, businesses from across Africa are required to register their corporate profiles and other details. Then a verification and validation phase will follow, after which the profiles will be listed in the Mansa database, according to Afreximbank.