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Afreximbank, African Union, Others Hold Intra-African Trade Fair Business Roadshow

Oramah said that the trade fair was created to fast track Africa’s economic integration.

The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat and the Ministry of Trade & Industry of Egypt have hosted a high-level business roadshow, ahead of the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF 2023) scheduled to hold on from 9th to 15th of November 2023 in Cairo, Egypt.

Under the theme “Promoting Egypt-Africa Trade and Investment Under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), ‘IATF2023 Egypt High-Level Business Roadshow’ brought together captains of industry, the business community, high-level government officials, the diplomatic community, as well as executives and senior officials of Afreximbank, AUC and AfCFTA Secretariat to deliberate on how the IATF was playing an instrumental role in boosting and promoting trade and investment opportunities under the AfCFTA between Egypt and the rest of Africa.

According to a statement, the Chairman of IATF2023 Advisory Council and Former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, said, “we are here today to demonstrate and reaffirm that the third edition of the IATF will be happening here in this beautiful city of Cairo in November 2023.

“We urge the business community to take advantage of IATF2023 and use it to explore business opportunities. Opportunities are huge and limitless. IATF2023 is expected to be bigger and better than the previous two editions and the event is expected to attract more than 1,600 exhibitors; over 35,000 visitors, buyers and conference delegates from all 55 African countries, and the rest of the world; with more than US$43 Billion in trade and investment deals.”

President and Chairman of the Board of Directors at Afreximbank, Prof. Benedict Oramah, said the IATF was created to fast-track Africa’s economic integration through the AfCFTA.

He added that, “The biggest challenge on the continent is the lack of trade ad market information of what exists within the continent. This can be traced to the colonial era where Africa was divided into 55 domestic countries that had and continues to have very limited linkages with themselves.

“It created a situation where somebody in an African country knows more about what is happening in America, Europe and Asia than what is happening in a neighbouring country across the border.

“One way of dealing with this, is creating a platform like IATF, where Africans can gather to understand their markets, know themselves and understand more about the African countries. Egypt has been a major beneficiary of the IATF.

“At the first trade fair in 2018, which was held in Cairo, Egypt signed the largest share of deals out of the US$32 billion worth of trade and investment deals closed at the Trade Fair.”

AU Commissioner for Economic Development, Trade, Tourism, Industry and Minerals, Ambassador Albert Muchanga, regarding the low levels of trade in Africa said, “in order to develop intra African trade, we need very efficient and cost-effective road infrastructure, railway, shipping lines, airlines, airports and payment systems and fundamentally we need to produce goods and services that can be traded.

“Producing and trading in raw materials cannot be the basis for intra-African trade. We need to move towards manufacturing and agro-processing so that these, based on endowments across African countries can be the basis for intra-African trade.”

Principal Communication Adviser, Ms. Grace Khoza representing the Secretary General of the AfCFTA Secretariat said “IATF is one platform that we believe creates an avenue through which Africans get to connect and know each other. Africans need to understand what products are produced in different regions of Africa that could be exported to other regions within Africa. Egypt being the second largest economy in Africa stands to benefit from immense opportunities presented by the IATF as an AfCFTA marketplace.

The IATF2023 roadshow was a key opportunity for the Egyptian private sector to learn more about the opportunities and benefits of participating in the IATF2023, Africa’s premier trade and investment fair, which will be held between the 9th to 15th of November in Cairo.

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