Introduction to MANSA Platform – Africa’s Centralized Digital Customer Due Diligence Repository

Dec 15, 2020
Maureen Nneka MBA , Head of the MANSA Initiative, Afreximbank

Rejection rates for trade finance applications for SMEs in Africa are rising, with bank participation in activities decreasing. Conducted over 2011-19, the report titled: “Trade Finance in Africa: Trends Over the Past Decade and Opportunities Ahead,” reveal that over the last years leading up to 2019, the average size of the trade finance gap in Africa was estimated to be US$91bn. It decreased slowly from US$120bn in 2011 to US$70bn at the end of 2016. However, it has since increased, with the latest data putting it around US$81bn.

The share of SME trade finance applications rejected by banks has increased by 20% from 2013 to 2019. In the same time, participation in trade finance by banks has been decreasing. 71% in 2019 compared with 92% in 2014.

This survey highlighted client creditworthiness (30%) and insufficient collateral (25%) as the main reasons for rejections. 16% of banks engaged in trade finance list KYC/AML compliance as the key reason for not approving trade finance applications during the period 2015-19, compared with less than 1% during 2013-14.  This development goes to explain the stringent nature of KYC/AML requirements thus making banks to be more selective. 

Cognizant of this development and its mandate that positions it as the trade finance bank for Africa, the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has taken the lead role in creating a platform to address KYC/CDD issues, with a special focus on African financial institutions, Corporate Entities and SMEs.

MANSA Platform is Africa’s centralized customer due diligence digital repository that derives its name from Mansa Musa, who was the 10th Emperor of Mali Empire (1312–1337). He was credited with placing Africa on the world map through his immense wealth of gold and opening up of Africa’s trade routes in the 14th century, noted that during his reign, Mali Empire may have been the largest producer of gold in the world. Mansa Musa is said to be the only man ever to control the flow of gold between Africa and the Mediterranean.

Given the importance of the Platform to the African continent, through promotion of trade in Africa, the Bank sought to rename the Platform to symbolize its significance to the continent (as an African-focused platform providing a centralized repository for customer due diligence information, with an aim to promote trade in Africa and with the rest of the world).

MANSA is the first Customer Due Diligence (CDD) digital Repository Platform in Africa hosted and managed by Afreximbank, a centralized Repository that speaks to three (3) key pillars:

1)         The Know-Your-Customer (KYC) pillar provides a single source of primary data for conducting customer due diligence checks on counterparties in Africa; financial institutions, corporates and SMEs;

2)         Investing in Africa provides a one-stop portal to learn about Africa and information on investment climate and economic profiles, key industry, traded products and services regarding African countries; and

3)         News and Events takes charge of events and publications in the compliance space and about trade information on Africa and African entities.

The KYC/CDD pillar has three user profiles, which are Contributors, Verifiers, and Subscribers.

  • Contributors are African Financial Institutions, SMEs and Corporate Entities who register and upload their information on the MANSA Repository using standardized KYC/AML templates;
  • Verifiers are entities who conduct verification of the CDD information uploaded by contributors and these include regulators, recognized law/audit firms, credit bureaus, chambers of commerce, stock exchanges and other government bodies and registries;
  • Subscribers are consumers (individual or corporate) who subscribe to have access to primary data for the purpose of conducting customer due diligence checks on counterparties and/or to explore investment opportunities and reports on African Financial Institutions, Corporates, and SMEs for investment and trade purposes.

MANSA is the referenced Africa Customer Due Diligence Repository Platform promoting a continental alliance to increase trade through credible and authentic KYC/CDD reports. MANSA is the “go-to” platform for African businesses and international trade counterparties.

With the advent of the AfCFTA, MANSA is also expected to increase and boost intra-African trade by enabling trading partners access intelligence and obtain due diligence on trusted counterparties across the region.

Further, customer identity and compliance checks, risk assessment and scoring, enhanced due diligence investigation, periodic customer reviews, and beneficial ownership analysis are among some of the services MANSA provides.  MANSA is the solution to Africa’s customer due diligence challenges.

MANSA main objectives are to:

  • address and lower the risk perception of African entities, reduce cost of compliance and potentially reduce the cost of doing business in Africa;
  • provide African entities additional services that will increase their visibility and attract potential investors into the continent;
  • provide key information to facilitate CDD checks on African counterparties that will increase trade growth and intra African trade;
  • strengthen business links between international banks and corporates wishing to do business in Africa;
  • provide access to international financing; among others.

Thanks to MANSA which today facilitates the conduct of CDD checks on African entities, including FIs, Corporates and SMEs, thus avoiding the rigours of CDD processes which will reduce cost and increase turnaround time.

Trade is an engine of economic growth.  However, Africa as a continent is still not capturing fully trade’s growth-enhancing benefits.

it is hoped that MANSA will:

  • provide more opportunities to African entities to reduce the trade gaps;
  • end the subjective assessment of clients and eliminate the risk perception of doing business in Africa and with African entities;
  • ensure transparency and accountability about African business partners, potentially leading to expansion of trade business relationship in Africa and the rest of the world.

With the above brief introduction, it is obvious that MANSA is set to be a game changer when African entities will start doing business differently, ensuring trading amongst themselves and promoting good governance culture.


Click here to watch the detailed presentation of Mansa

About the author

Mrs. Maureen Nneka MBA heads the MANSA Initiative – one of the key initiatives established by Afreximbank which  serves as a centralized digital platform that provides comprehensive due diligence information about African entities, including financial institutions, corporate entities and SMEs. Key Member of the pioneer team of the Bank, Maureen is the immediate past Director of Afreximbank Compliance Department. She started her working career with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), where she worked for 5 years in the Governor’s Office prior to joining Afreximbank in 1994, as one of the nucleus staff. A  Nigerian national, she holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration (Magna Cum Laude), from New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) USA, and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the City University Bellevue, Washington State, USA. Mrs. MBA is multicultural and multilingual, quite fluent in French, English (read and write), the three Nigerian main languages (Ibo, Hausa and Yoruba) and, speaks and understands a bit of the Arabic language.



11:13 am

We have and ID Verification system in Ghana that you can connect to do your KYC verification.


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