More than US$43 billion worth of trade and investment deals are expected to be generated at the third edition of the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2023) to be held in Egypt in November this year.
IATF2023 aims to attract over 1,600 exhibitors from 75 countries, with more than 35,000 participants from 55 African nations including the diaspora.
Intra-African Trade Bank, Afreximbank Executive Vice President, Kanayo Awani, said this at the media briefing held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Thursday.
She said they had projected to generate trade and investment deals worth over US$43 billion.
“In terms of overall participation across all verticals of previous two IATF editions, participants came from around 130 countries globally. Building on this success, the third edition holding in Cairo, Egypt, in November 2023, will again provide an opportunity for exhibitors to showcase their goods and services, engage in Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Government (B2G) exchanges, and conclude business deals which will ensure that the momentum toward greater intra-African trade is sustained.
“With our partners, the African Union Commission, African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, and our host the government of Egypt, IATF2023 promises to be bigger and better,” Awani said.
When asked by Zambia Monitor how significant 2023 IATF would be to the sub-Saharan Africa region in broadening access to financing, Awani said that between the first and second editions, the bank had concluded and funded about US$74 billion deals.
She said this and many other initiatives highlighted had helped to broaden access to finance, whilst facilitating trade and investment on the continent.
“As you may be aware, lack of access to trade and market information is one of the reasons why intra-African trade has been low at around 16 percent. I daresay it is equally a key reason for the very low UAE-Africa trade,” Awani said.
In order to address this challenge, she said that Afreximbank, working with the African Union and other strategic partners launched the Intra-African Trade Fair in 2018 as a key initiative to support the AfCFTA.
The IATF has held every two years to connect buyers and sellers across Africa as well as investors to investment opportunities within the continent and to address access to trade and market information as key enabler for intra-African trade.
She explained that the partnership model ensured that it was now the biggest platform for African public and private sector interactions in one gathering.
Awani shared the previous successes, stating that collectively two editions of the trade fair had attracted more than 2,500 exhibitors from 77 countries and generated over US$77 billion in deals, providing a glimpse of the immense potential that existed for intra-African trade.
“We therefore call upon the government of the United Arab Emirates, the UAE Trade Centre, Business Chambers and Associations to provide support in terms of mobilising the UAE business community, to participate and take advantage of all the IATF has to offer- a unique platform for UAE businesses to invest and access an integrated market of 1.4 billion people with a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of over US$3.5 trillion,” she said.
Speaking at the same event Secretary General of Federation UAE Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Humaid Mohamed Ben Salem, said they looked forward to collaborate with Africa saying that the future was in Africa.
He indicated Africa with its vast population had great opportunities for UAE businesses and was impressed with the remarkable achievement posted on the continent in the last few years.
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