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Intra African trade fair targets $25bn in trade deals in 7 days

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THE African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) in Cairo, held a press conference to announce details about the first Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) taking place in the city from 11 to 17 December 2018.  Organised by Afreximbank, in collaboration with the African Union, and Hosted by the Government of Egypt, the trade fair is expected to bring more than 70,000 visitors over the seven days.


Addressing the press conference were Prof. Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank, H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, IATF Advisory Council Chairman, and H.E Albert M. Muchanga, African Union Commissioner for the Department of Trade and Industry.

Hosted in Egypt, the fair reflects the country’s vital position and strategic stance among African countries and globally and affirms the country’s political and economic importance. The fair comes after the successful signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement, which seeks to enhance trade and economic growth across Africa. 

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The conference discussed the key objectives of the IATF which is intended to be a platform for sharing trade, investment and market information and enabling buyers and sellers, investors and countries to meet, discuss and conclude business deals worth of $ 25 billion over the course of seven days. This, in turn, is expected to contribute to Afreximbank’s goal of increasing intra-African trade volume from $ 170 billion in 2014 to the US $ 250 billion by 2021, thereby ensuring that trade among African countries reaches 22% of Africa’s total trade by 2021.

Prof. Oramah stated that the Fair was a major initiative by Afreximbank to achieve the objectives set out in its five-year strategy (IMPACT 2021) which seeks to increase the volume of trade between African countries. Afreximbank will be convening this biennial trade fair as part of its IMPACT 2021 Strategy, to connect buyers and sellers from across the continent. 

“Intra-African trade accounts for only 15 per cent of Africa’s total trade. According to Afreximbank, the volume of trade in Europe reached 59%, Asia 51%, and North America 37%. The Intra-African Trade Fair is set to increase the volume of trade among African countries from 15% now to 22% in 2021.”

Outlining the motivation for the IATF, Prof. Oramah, said, “We, therefore, need to develop industrialization in Africa, increase intra-African trade, and no longer depend on the export of raw materials. We need to create more value-added and diversified exports.”

“We need sustainable platforms to transform the continent’s economy and promote intra-African trade,” continued the President, noting that Afreximbank had launched a trade portal called the Virtual Trade Fair (VTF) to provide continuity after the biennial IATF.

Running alongside the trade fair will be the “IATF 2018 Conference” which will address issues relating to trade facilitation, infrastructure and payments. It will focus on identifying key trade facilitation challenges, including standards, customs and transport-related non-tariff barriers that are affecting intra-African trade, and will explore practical ways of collaborating with partners to address them. The conference will provide a platform for showcasing intra-African trade value-chains and opportunities for developing and deepening them. The speakers will include globally recognized experts and political and business leaders.

The exhibition is expected to attract 70,000 visitors from Africa and all over the world, hosting more than 1,000 exhibitors from across the continent and globally, 4,500 buyers and sellers and representation from the 55-member states of the African Union, as well as access to a market of over 1 billion people brought together by the AfCFTA.

The post Intra African trade fair targets $25bn in trade deals in 7 days appeared first on Tribune Online.

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