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Jonathan Wamara

Interview: Subula Express to Ease Trade between China and Uganda

‘Subula Express’ is an end-to-end solution that aims at easing and simplifying trade for importers by connecting them to the genuine suppliers in China and help them source and validate the quality of goods.
posted onApril 5, 2021

Stanbic Bank Uganda has launched the Africa China Agent Proposition (ACAP) under the campaign theme ‘Subula Express’. 

It’s a solution that offers businesses a quick and seamless way to import goods from China and other markets by providing not only trade financing solutions but also connecting them to legit and reliable suppliers.

In partnership with Guomao (Africa-China’s largest trade agent), the move is intended to create avenues for businesses in Uganda to source, pay and have goods delivered at their doorstep without them traveling.

We talked to Jonathan Wamara, Universal Head of Trade at Stanbic Bank, who explained the importance of this proposition and how traders will benefit from it.

What is the background of this new Proposition?

During the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic last year, imports of goods and commodities from abroad came to a standstill.

Traders lost huge sums of money due to delays in sourcing for goods, shipping and clearances at border points which forced many to scale back or shut down their operations for more than four months.

To help eliminate these bottlenecks, Stanbic Bank Uganda through the Standard Bank Group designed a solution “Africa China Agent Proposition (ACAP)” with Guomao as an Agent.

Having Guomao on board, means businesses in Uganda can benefit from its network of suppliers located all over China and other markets mainly in Asia, as well as providing our customers with a robust end to end solution that covers sourcing, purchasing, payment, shipping and delivery of goods in Uganda without having to travel to abroad.

‘Subula Express’ is an end-to-end solution that aims at easing and simplifying trade for importers by connecting them to genuine suppliers in China and help them source and validate the quality of goods.

The ACAP proposition will bring more convenience for businesses right from pre-shipment, during shipment and post-shipment phases.

Please elaborate on Guomao and why the partnership with them?

Guomao, formerly known as Zhejiang International Trading Supply Chain Company Limited, is the first Chinese Trade Agent with over 10,000 suppliers.

The company assists foreign importers to seamlessly trade within China and outside China and ensure their importation needs are fully met.

With over 20 years of experience in foreign trade end-to-end procurements services, Guomao is a one-stop centre to help our Ugandan Customers navigate the supply chain and generally boost trade with China and other markets.   

This is a unique but highly advantageous partnership that is part of Stanbic’s bid to go above and beyond and ensure that our customers have a seamless end-to-end journey.

What are the other major benefits of Subula Express?

Apart from access to 10,000 verified Chinese suppliers, our ACAP proposition specifically includes assistance with letters of credit, payment guarantees, foreign exchange telegraphic transfers, pre-shipment financing, and working capital finance.

With the partnership with Guamao as a bank we are able to get comfort to provide financial support given that we have sight of the transactions end to end.

Subula Express is beneficial to businesses at every level of importation. For instance, at the pre-shipment phase, the bank will cater for the traders’ travel logistics, supplier sourcing, goods quality validation, transactional banking capability and working capital facility.

During the sourcing phase, we assist you with a translator, and after sourcing for goods, at shipping we offer transit insurance, inward documentary collections and lastly after shipment, we also provide working capital lines and cash management facilities.

As China continues to increase its involvement in the economic activities across the African continent, the use of the Renminbi currency (RMB) in international trade continues to gain traction. We aim to be the dominant provider of Renminbi between Africa and China as we drive the economic growth of Africa in countries we operate.

Can you give us a typical example of how this new proposition will make things easier for our importers?

If a trader/importer was to import an average of 20 containers annually, it would cost them an average of $100,000 per container.

After a year, it amounts to about $2 million which is costly for local traders and many did not work effectively last year as the economy recovers from the lockdown period due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

With the ACAP proposition, we cover the whole process right from pre-shipment where we source for suppliers, validate the quality of goods and suppliers, deal with travel logistics and handle shipment and clearances at the border stops and deliver these goods to the warehouses or shops of these traders, all within reasonable cost, as we have noticed that services providers across the supply chain have taken advantage of the pandemic to increase costs .

Stanbic Bank is dedicated to unlocking new solutions and possibilities to revive the economy and boost economic growth.

The Africa China Agent Proposition (ACAP) will bring up new opportunities for businesses in Uganda to easily import goods and allow them to continue run their businesses efficiently by leveraging on our networks and partnerships worldwide.

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