During a workshop organized by that nation, the WTO and the International Finance Corporation, Director General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala welcomed the initiative for the business sector and banks to establish a dialogue with the aim of helping merchants reduce the costs of transactions and better integrate into world trade.
The senior WTO official highlighted the urgency of improving access to trade finance for small entities in Africa, and underlined the serious monetary constraint facing the sub-Saharan region.
Okonjo-Iweala commented that global surveys show that while around 30 percent of international trade finance goes to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), banks reject around 40 percent of their applications.
She stressed that the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated trade finance gaps in Africa, which previously totaled some $80 billion a year.
The WTO director-general said that the lack of monetary resources or their availability at higher costs than the world market are major obstacles to the integration of African nations in global trade.
For countries to be successful in international markets, their logistics, transportation, border crossing and trade financing costs must be competitive, she added.
In this regard, she pointed out that controlling these costs requires experience and training, which eventually reduces transaction costs.