By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel

The federal government applauded Ecobank for its efforts to boost trade in West Africa, calling on other stakeholders to join forces to make the sub-region a formidable force on the continent.

Industry, Trade and Investment Minister Niyi Adebayo, who presented the commendation at a recent event, expressed optimism that continued collaboration with the private sector organized would enrich and improve the trade and economy of West African nations.

Mr. Adebayo was the guest of honor at a webinar organized by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) to commemorate the 46th anniversary of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS ) Monday.

Also speaking at the virtual event, LCCI President Ms Toki Mabogunje explained that the forum was set up to explore the opportunities and challenges of economic integration for stakeholders and for states members of ECOWAS.

She said that through the program, LCCI hopes to examine different trade policies, intra-regional trade, smooth integration between member states and potential markets offering borderless opportunities.

Ms. Mabogunje assured that her organization will continue to join forces with ECOWAS institutions to achieve its objective of creating wealth, economic integration and maintaining the commitment to peace and development.

In his contribution, the Managing Director of Ecobank Nigeria, Mr. Patrick Akinwuntan, recalled that the Pan-African bank has maintained its status as a payment gateway for Africa.

He noted that Ecobank has a presence in all ECOWAS member states and will continue to encourage trade and economic activities through its vast pan-African network using its knowledge, footprint and payment channels.

“We have a platform that leverages technology that allows ECOWAS companies to operate as one market.

“In terms of payment and collection, we only have one banking platform that serves an entire industry. If you are an individual and you open an account and get our mobile app, you have access to the 33 countries where we operate, and you can transact in those countries.

“It’s a payment switch that guarantees payment without going through ‘Swift’ but guarantees instant value across the network.

“For businesses, we have the Omni platform, which is an online payment platform that allows you to see your location in all 33 countries first and make an instant payment,” Mr. Akinwuntan.