Good people, I have been studying the rise of multibank trade finance portals globally which is uniting all players in the international trade value chain. This is another expression of ‘Super Apps’ because these platforms are aiming to be a one-stop-shop for all services within the import and export trade ecosystem. Some of them are at pilot stages while some have recorded live transactions. In London, there is ‘Marcopolo Finance’, In Singapore, there is ‘Contour’, there is also ‘Trade Information Network’ with representation in different regions including the US, Germany, UK, Australia, Hongkong etc. and in Africa, Union Systems has answered the call with Optimus Multibank Trade Finance Portal. This is a bold step in utilizing the aggregation construct to provide a multiplayer platform for import and export trade finance operations.
If you play a role in the supply chain of any of the large corporates and multinational corporations (MNCs), you will agree with me that managing your trade transactions with over 5 different banks, different platforms, different suppliers, and/or buyers, comes with an array of difficulties especially with managing credit limits and confirmation lines, provided by multiple banks. Yet, with the way the Nigerian technology scene is evolving fast, it is surprising that international trade is still fraught with lots of manual processing and physical visits to the bank which is inefficient for a corporate that deals with multiple banks.
Like their global counterparts, Optimus is shaping the future of trade finance in Africa by redefining value chain interactions, reducing operational complexities, and giving corporates visibility into the processing and management of all their import and export trade finance transactions. This is the power and control that Large corporates and multinationals are looking for especially when it means that they can have full visibility of their trade transactions across all their banks on one dashboard and interact with their bankers, suppliers, logistics partners, insurance providers etc. in one portal.
Platforms like Optimus are a step in the right direction in light of the ongoing implementation of the AfCFTA. It warms my heart to see how technology is being used by companies like Union Systems, to shape the future of international trade in Africa.