Cairo, 23 July 2018: - In an effort to highlight the importance of intra-African trade in Africa’s economic development and to boost participation in the Intra—African Trade Fair (IATF) taking place in Cairo in December, the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is holding engagement events with stakeholders in key cities across the continent.
The engagement sessions, featuring panel discussions and presentations on intra-African trade issues, was sparked by the increasing need to recognize the importance of intra-African trade, particularly in the context of the recent signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement by 44 African countries. The AfCFTA agreement seeks to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business, persons and investments, paving the way for accelerating and establishing a continental customs union.
The first engagement session, in Cairo in May, saw the formal launch of the IATF, which is scheduled to take place from 11 to 17 December.
Speaking during the launch, Dr. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank said, “The IATF, the first-ever such fair to be organised, will provide a platform for exchange of information on markets, dialogue and meetings among businesses. It will also enable traders to conclude deals and access information about investment opportunities.”
At the second engagement session, held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in June, Afreximbank and the Export Credit Insurance Corporation of South Africa SOC Limited announced the launch of the South Africa-Africa Trade and Investment Promotion Programme, a $1 billion financing programme to promote and expand trade and investments between South Africa and the rest of Africa.
Dr. Oramah told guests at the event that “The joint initiative will support businesses through capacity building and market information initiatives and will help small and medium-sized entrepreneurs to join regional supply chains.”
The third engagement session, held in Nigeria in July, featured a panel discussion, titled “Strategy to deepen Nigeria-Africa trade”, during which Dr. Oramah stated that the private sector had a critical role to play in making regional integration work for Africa.
The Nigerian Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who was the special guest at the event, pledged that Nigeria would participate effectively in the IATF and said that the country would use the event as an opportunity to showcase its trade and investment opportunities.
Additional engagement sessions are scheduled to take place in Nairobi in August and in Abidjan in September.
The IATF is expected to bring together more than 1,000 exhibitors at the Egypt International Exhibition Centre in Cairo for a seven-day trade show that will provide a platform for sharing trade, investment and market information and enable buyers and sellers, investors and countries to meet, discuss and conclude business deals. It will also provide an opportunity for exhibitors to showcase their goods and services and to engage in business-to-business exchanges. The trade show is seen as speaking directly to the goals of AfCFTA.