Bank officials say this product innovation saves clients’ unnecessary costs in currency conversions, and avoids the inherent risks associated with fluctuating currency rates – a challenge most African traders face when dealing with trade partners outside of their economies.
Officials add that motivating factors behind such product innovations stem from ongoing trade developments, such as Botswana’s trade with the European Union more than tripling from 2010 to 2011, and Chinese trade increasing five-fold between 2007 and 2011. Zambia’s top trading partners are Switzerland, South Africa, China and the Democratic Republic of Congo, with trade volumes for Developing Asia increasing twenty-fold since 2004. Uganda has enjoyed similar trade growth with Chinese trade expanding from $800,000 in 2002, to a total of $43million for 2011.
Lydia Karanja, Standard Chartered’s head of transaction banking for Uganda said: “Our corporate clients in Botswana, Zambia, Uganda as well as a number of other international markets in our footprint, will have immediate access to these product innovations, without incurring setup costs or installation delays.”
BY JULIUS BUSINGE, THE OBSERVER