The President of Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) Prince Adetokunbo Kayode on Monday launched the AFRICHINA Digital Trading Exchange (ACDTE).
Prince Kayode made the announcement during a meeting with the Nigerian Association Chambers of Commerce and Industries (NACCIMA), and all Chambers of Commerce and Industry in the country on the importance of Digital Trade Exchange.
He said the Africhina Projects Limited, a member of Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, through its Africhina Digital Trading Exchange, with the collaboration of NACCIMA, birthed the China-Nigeria Export and Import Trade Portal.
He also noted that ACDTE gives businesses the leverage to dive into emerging global markets to maximize opportunities for nation building and economic development.
Prince Kayode stated the possible solutions that the ADTE project will provide to include addressing challenges of cross border business dealings and building trust in doing business between Africa – China & China – Africa, as well as building strategic alliances to promote and guarantee export of commodities.Other possible solutions, according to him are to mitigate bottlenecks, noting that a national digital import – export trading exchange is essentially required to drive the new realities.
“We have therefore, carefully created a virtual market platform that showcases Chinese Original Equipment Manufacturers’ (OEM) products from various standardized and trustworthy markets to provide buyers with multiple choices, offering a seamless online – offline trading platform for business activities” he said.
He noted that Nigeria-China trade galloped from about $1.8 billion in 2003 to $13.5 billion in 2018, adding that as the relationship grew, more Nigerians established business and other relationships in China. He also decried the imbalanced in trade, Nigeria’s growing dependence on China, and China’s growing importance in Africa.
He gave the assurance that ACDTE is one of the digital platforms driving the transformation in the global trade in Nigeria, aimed at establishing a dynamic trade platform for all to benefit irrespective of cultural, political or social barriers.
Prince Kayode who noted that several inspiring developments have been recorded especially between China and Nigeria, said that the great vision of a rebranded chamber has become a reality.
“Great ideas have materialised. In the beginning they were ideas in the book; today, great thoughts stand indisputably in material forms before all stakeholders. Yes, we took off on a challenging note based on the infrastructural deficit the Chamber was confronted with. But we all painstakingly pushed for reforms. Today, we are all proud of our sterling achievements in many areas” he said.
Other issues highlighted by Prince Kayode included; counterfeit, adulterated and sub-standard drugs and other products imported from China into Nigeria. Back then, I commented on Chinese labour relations in Nigeria and the challenges of fostering the International Labour Organisation’s decent work agenda. My paper pointed to the weakness of the Nigerian government to respond to the maltreatment of its citizens by Chinese companies. I argued that this created a space for both civil and uncivil responses by non-state actors. In April 2020 – five years later – we witnessed another report of maltreatment” he said.
He explained that with a good number of Chinese multinationals and small companies operating in Nigeria and building much needed roads and railways, airports, and telecommunications infrastructure, Nigeria’s trade deficit against China remains huge.
He said there are currently about 218 registered Chinese firms in Nigeria who are involved in construction, furniture, food and beverages, beauty, and product assembling plants, among others but between 2015 and 2018, the trade deficit stood at N6.83 trillion which exchanges for about $17.5 billion today in favour of China.
“This affirms that China benefits more at the moment. It is estimated that total trade between both countries between 2015 and 2018 was about $49 billion. This means that goods imported from China into Nigeria in that period were about $17.5 billion more than those exported from Nigeria to China. In any case, a significant amount of Nigeria’s export to China is a primary product: crude oil”. He therefore noted that with the crash in the crude oil price and a global economic downturn caused by the new corona virus, Nigeria needs Chinese investment and loans now more than ever.
Speaking on the ACDTE Project, the Managing Director/CEO of Africhina, Odeh Change said the world has now revolved to an intensified global relationship which the international business has become the key determinant of economic development and prosperity, hence the ACDTE gives one the soft level leverage to dive into the emerging global market to maximize benefits for nation building as well as economic development.
He said the technology gives everyone the opportunity to sit behind an electronic device and transact business, trade, socialise, and integrate with diverse economies of the world.
He gave the assurance that the ACDTE is one of the digital platforms that will drive transformation in today’s global markets.
Also speaking, the Director General of NACCIMA, Ambassador Ayoola Olukanni said NACCIMA was glad to have taken the practical step with regards to the project.
He said “despite our crisis with COVID-19, our trade with China is real in terms of infrastructural development, trade, commerce and industry”
Olukanni said the ACDTE provides an opportunity to reduce trade imbalance and called on all chambers of commerce in the country to tap into the opportunity and access the market.“Respective Chambers should improve their infrastructure to be able to improve their capacity in terms of online engagement to tap into this opportunity” he said.
He gave the assurance of NACCIMA’s support adding that “we are glad that we are walking the talking with regards to the Africhina digital platform is concerned”.
Earlier, the Director General, Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Ms Victoria Akai during her welcome remarks, said that with the help of NACCIMA, all chambers of Commerce have been pushing to achieve their goals for the year despite the pandemic.
She assured the gathering that ACDTE is a potent platform towards digital transformation and access to global markets.