MANSA: a continental platform for assessing the reliability of African businesses


One of the main challenges that African economic operators face when engaging with potential business partners in the continent is the need to verify the identity of their counterparts and assess their level of reliability before entering into business negotiations or in a partnership. Some African countries offer today specific tools for conducting background checks aimed at assessing the reliability of potential trading partners in other States, to minimize cases of frauds in international transactions.

This is the case of Kenya, for instance, where the i-Screen Kenya portal allows traders to conduct compliance checks on potential partners, vendors and customers in other countries abroad through a dedicated web-based platform.

More recently, AfreximBank developed the MANSA due diligence data platform, a repository gathering data useful for conducting Customer Due Diligence (CDD) and Know Your Client (KYC) policies on African businesses (including financial institutions), grouped according to the business service they offer, the industry sector to which they belong or their country of establishment. The platform allows subscribers to view and download CDD/KYC information on African Corporates, SMEs and African Financial institutions and provides – on registration - information on investment in Africa, country profiles and traded products/services of African countries, with the ultimate goal of promoting and increasing trade in Africa. Subscription plans range from 50 (for the standard services) to 10,500 USD per year for the premium services, with some free-of-charge trial plans for a maximum period of 2 months.

The MANSA Repository derives its name from Mansa Musa, (Musa I of Mali), the King of Mali from 1312 C.E. to 1337 C.E, considered the richest men of all time, whose wealth was indescribable. Musa I of Mali also made the ancient kingdom of Mali (whose territory spread across parts of modern-day Mali, Senegal, the Gambia, Guinea, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Mauritania, and Burkina Faso) one of the richest kingdoms of Africa, turning cities like Timbuktu and Gao into important trading and cultural centers, and pioneering trade between Africa and the rest of the world.