Who Are You? African Firms Eye Trade Boost From Global Business Card



Simon Jessop, Emma Rumney | Reuters

His company may have been operating for 61 years, but that counts for nothing when Second Muguyo, finance manager at Zimbabwean copper and silver goods manufacturer Copperwares, tries to access overseas credit.

The problem? Foreign lenders and trade partners don’t know the company well enough. So when suppliers or customers demand cash payments or products up front, it locks in precious capital that can only be recouped when the finished goods are delivered – up to 10 months later.

The impact on the company’s business has been to curtail its expansion, limit overseas sales and cap hiring of local workers – a problem mirrored by firms across the country, hampering its ability to recover from years of economic slump.

“Currently, we don’t have any credit terms, even from our neighbouring countries,” Muguyo told Reuters. “We are funding our suppliers and customers left, right and centre, but we only receive it (payment) after 10 months.”

Now, help may be coming in the form of an access pass to the world’s financial system from a body set up by the G20 group of nations after the 2008 financial crisis, when regulators struggled to see who was exposed to stricken bank Lehman Brothers.

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