ICC and Africa investor launch global eTrade partnership to digitise five million SMEs in Africa

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

Announced at the second Africa investor Global Trade Organization Leaders’ Summit by ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO and Hubert Danso, Chairman of Africa investor, the campaign will accelerate the digitisation 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 (Ai), AfricaPLC industrial eTrade and Fintech marketplace platform,ICC and Africa investor 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 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 AfricaPLC, as the inititruves digitally enabled eTrade 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 digitisation of SMEs within their supply chains.

Mr Denton said: “We are extremely proud to announce ICC’s partnership with Africa investor (Ai) to digitise 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.”

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.

Hubert Danso, CEO and Chairman of Africa investor said: “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. 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.”

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. With regional hubs in Istanbul and Beirut, ICC will announce future hubs in Africa and South America in 2021.

For more information, please contact:

  • Timothy Conley
  • Global Communications Officer
  • Gabriel Petrus
  • Deputy Director, ICC Global Partnerships and Development