Trade and trade finance witnessed many announcements and initiatives rolled out in 2019. GTR’s editorial team sought to capture some of the key developments on video: from speaking to US Exim board member Judith Pryor about the bank’s reauthorisation, to interviewing former trade minister Liam Fox about UK trade post-Brexit, and examining China’s growing influence in Africa.
Our video content profiles conversations with trade leaders, where we take a closer look at initiatives and legislation, and learn how the trade and trade finance landscape continues to evolve. After analysing the engagement of our videos and footage shot over the past year, we have gathered our top trade videos of 2019.
US Exim talks Africa trade and reauthorisation
In this video, US Export-Import Bank (US Exim) board member Judith Pryor tells GTR about Trump’s Prosper Africa campaign, the bank’s backing of a US$5bn liquefied natural gas project in Mozambique signed in September 2019 – the biggest deal US Exim has ever made – and how it will support thousands of jobs, and that she is “confident” the bank will be reauthorised – which, shortly after this conversation, it was.
In December, US Exim was reauthorised for seven years – the longest tenor in its history. On the new legislation, Pryor told GTR: “We talked about reauthorisation before and I didn’t want to jinx it, but I couldn’t help but be very confident that it was going to happen, and it did. A seven-year reauthorisation is the longest in the agency’s 85-year history, so it’s a big achievement. I don’t want to say that there’s a specific plan for the next seven years but, as a government agency, we have a mission and a mandate and so our focus will be on that: to support US jobs through exports.”
Liam Fox on UK trade
Despite a gloomy economic outlook for the UK post-Brexit, there are plenty of reasons for optimism, Liam Fox, the UK’s then-secretary of state for international trade, told GTR in May 2019.
In August 2018, he launched an ambitious Export Strategy as part of a plan to dial up the intensity of UK trade. Its central aim is to increase UK total exports as a proportion of GDP to 35%, up from around 30%. However, progress on the plan has been slow, and according to the UK’s department for international trade, around 400,000 British businesses believe they can export but don’t, with access to finance remaining a major stumbling block.
In this video, we speak to Fox about how the government aims to enable British firms to realise their full trading potential in what remain trying times.
Shortly after, in July 2019, Fox lost his cabinet position when new Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a cabinet reshuffle.
The business case for diversity
Driving gender diversity and inclusion is not only the right thing to do – it also makes good business sense. That was one of the key points made by Rana Nawas, the keynote speaker at the GTR Women in Trade Finance event in Dubai in February 2019. In this video, we speak to Nawas to understand more.
Following this event, we held the GTR Future-Proofing Trade Finance event in November, which brought together those working in trade and trade finance to see whether the conversation around diversity and inclusion is progressing.
In this video, we speak to Pouya Jafari, trade finance associate at Channel Capital Advisors, Janet Mulu, financial services consultant at Callstreet and Izabela Czepirska, product director at Crowdz, to hear their thoughts on the matter.
Growing Chinese influence in Africa: Can Europe compete?
As China grows its influence in Africa, European firms are facing tougher competition on the continent. But is it an impossible task or are there steps businesses and governments can take to better promote their offerings? In this video, GTR speaks with Joe Collins, managing director of Africa Builds, about the increasing competition from Chinese firms and how Europe can best address the challenge.
Carving out a career in trade
In October, Clare Hunter won the GTR-BExA Young Exporter Award for 2019 for her work driving the export strategy and global presence of Coltraco Ultrasonics, a designer and manufacturer of ultrasonic safety and monitoring instrumentation.
GTR reporter Maddy White caught up with Hunter in November. In this video, the young exporter explains how Brazil has been a key trade focus for her, that “confidence” is key for young people looking to become involved in trade, and how important it is for women to take up speaking opportunities because “you can’t be what you can’t see”.
How alternative data is helping Africa’s SMEs
Speaking at GTR East Africa 2019 in Nairobi in May, Andrew Kinai, lead research engineer at IBM Research, talks about how the tech giant leverages alternative data such as purchase history and repayment data to better predict the creditworthiness of an SME and provide it with the working capital it often can’t access elsewhere.
ECA sustainability in Sweden
From green loans to sustainable supply chain finance, greener choices have become an integral part of financing decisions. SEK, Sweden’s export credit agency, says it gives ethics, social and environmental risks the same weighting as financial risks in its credit decisions. In this video, we speak to Helena Engnér Aili, senior sustainability analyst at SEK at the GTR Nordics event in Stockholm in November, to learn more.
SEK conducts sustainability assessments in line with the OECD’s regulations and other international frameworks for export and project financing. In 2017, it adopted the Equator Principles, a risk management framework, used by financial institutions, for assessing environmental and social risk in project finance. SEK believes such guidelines, in particular the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), are the way forward for its sustainability efforts.