ICC and Africa investor partner to help digitise five million SMEs in Africa

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and Africa investor (Ai) have joined forces to launch an eTrade initiative to enable the digitisation of five million micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Africa.

Announced at the second Ai Global Trade Organization Leaders’ Summit, the campaign will support intra-African trade and global market access for millions of African SMEs within the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

ICC and Ai will mobilise a worldwide network of multinational companies, African corporates, chambers of commerce, media organisations and academic institutions to provide market access, tools and training programmes to digitise SMEs on the continent.

The initiative will be launched via Ai’s eTrade platform AfricaPLC, and will initially function as a directory for SMEs in order to harness the full potential of e-commerce under the AfCFTA, which is set to begin in January 2021.

“We are extremely proud to announce ICC’s partnership with Africa investor (Ai) to digitise five million SMEs in Africa,” said ICC’s secretary general John W.H. Denton AO.

“In the face of the persisting 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.”