Standard Bank launched the African Trade Barometer (SB ATB) this Friday, 17th November in Maputo, a quarterly index that provides a dynamic and insightful analysis to promote the development of the African continent’s trade ecosystem.
This initiative aims to create a trade index for the continent to fill the gap in reliable information on the sector, as well as to support and enable the growth of internal trade.
The SB ATB also aims to fill the lack of data on trade across the African continent by providing up-to-date information from surveys on companies’ views of the environment in which they operate, their business behaviour, business activities and their perceptions of trade.
Launched in 2022, the SB ATB is now in its third edition and covers seven broad thematic categories of data with an impact on trade, namely trade openness, access to finance, macroeconomic stability, infrastructure, foreign trade, governance and the economy and financial behaviour of the commercial sector.
According to the managing director of Standard Bank, Bernardo Aparício, the tool is an excellent channel for Mozambican entrepreneurs (and other decision-makers) to identify business opportunities in the country in particular and on the African continent in general.
“The African Trade Barometer provides up-to-date information, obtained through surveys of companies, in which they comment on their perceptions of trade. Above all, the index presents the opportunities that exist in Mozambique, thus exposing our entrepreneurs to partnerships within the continent,” emphasised Bernardo Aparício.
The third and most recent edition focuses on ten countries: Angola, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
As far as Mozambique is concerned, the document points to the country’s improvement in the overall SB ATB ranking, from sixth position in September 2022 to third. The Mozambican business confidence index improved with a score of 59 in May 2023, slightly above the SB ATB average of 58 to 57 in September 2022.
The increase in GDP and net Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows, which have recovered from the effects of the pandemic, have a positive impact on the attractiveness of national trade.
In addition, the fact that Mozambique is one of the 54 signatories of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) has led to an improvement in the country’s score, as companies expect its implementation to ease the movement of goods and services across borders, facilitate greater investment between countries and provide a larger market for their goods and services.
On the other hand, Mozambique’s relatively high interest rates to contain rising domestic inflation, due to global inflation resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, have had a negative impact on the attractiveness of its trade capacity.
The country also faces a situation of deficient infrastructure, as the companies surveyed considered this factor to be an obstacle to their operations. The supply of electricity and the state of the roads continue to be the worst perceived aspects in the country.