ITFC taps digital platform for trade finance deal
Electronic bill of lading issued for cotton shipment from Burkina Faso
1 Apr 2021 | The Asset

International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) has successfully completed a transaction between cotton fibre producer Sofitex and agricultural goods merchant Louis Dreyfus Company on Bolero’s digital trade finance platform for the first time.

Based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, ITFC seeks to promote trade among member countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

Container shipping group CMA CGM issued an electronic bill of lading for the cash-against-documents transaction, which involved a cotton shipment originating from Burkina Faso. The company shipped the cargo from the Port of Lomé in Togo.

Bolero’s platform executed the encrypted exchange of documents rapidly and smoothly, accelerating a process that would usually take weeks as parties exchanged physical documentation across Burkina Faso, Togo, Saudi Arabia, and Switzerland.

Abou Jallow, ITFC’s general manager of operations, comments: “With a mandate to advance trade across the developing world, ITFC is committed to working closely with our partners in member countries to capitalize on the digitalization of global trade. Facilitating this online trade transaction for our partners in Burkina Faso marks a crucial milestone in the digitalization of trade in Africa, and we can expect to see improved efficiency across the entire trade cycle. By embracing technology through platforms such as Bolero’s, we can ensure greater visibility, transparency, accountability, and control in the trade of strategic commodities such as cotton.”

“Bolero’s platform is designed to enable trading partners to collaborate securely and efficiently, removing the traditional hurdles of international trade while remaining fully compliant with international standards and regulations,” says Bolero chief executive officer Andrew Raymond. “With its enhanced user experience, the platform delivers greater functionality and seamless integration with banks and other third-party systems, providing end-to-end visibility to corporate clients and banks.”

The transaction provides an example of the development of digital business in Africa, thanks to collaboration among the bank, exporter, trader and carrier.

“Eliminating documentary collection delays, which can take up to 21 days, to being able to retain and access all shipping documents in one place without the risk of misplacing them, has increased both efficiency and confidence across the entire process,” Sofitex sales director Lassana Kargougou says, adding that the company will extend the use of the platform to other partners in the sale of cotton fibre.