So far, deals worth 36 billion dollars have been closed at the just concluded second Intra Africa Trade Fair (IATF 2021), exceeding the 32 billion dollar mark set at IATF 2018.
This is contained in a statement issued by African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) on Monday in Durban, South Africa.
According to it, Mrs Kanayo Awani, Managing Director of Intra African Trade Initiative at Afreximbank, while presenting a preliminary report on the fair, said that business deals were still going on and that some of the deals already closed were still being compiled.
She also said that the fair which took place from Nov. 15 to 21 in Durban had 11,828 people in attendance physically and 27,000 via the IATF virtual platform, bringing the total number of participants to about 39,000.
She added that participants at IATF 2021 came from 128 countries around the world.
Awani also announced that against a target of 1,100 exhibitors as set out in the key performance indicators unveiled in 2019, on the background of the lessons learnt from the first IATF in Cairo, Egypt in 2018, IATF 2021 saw 1,161 exhibitors including 838 companies from 59 countries of which 46 came from Africa.
She said that four countries South Africa, Egypt, Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria had special days dedicated to them to double the number that featured in the inaugural Cairo 2018 event.
“Former Nigerian President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Chairman of the IATF Advisory Council, described IATF as a movement towards an economically reliable Africa.
“Obasanjo complimented Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank, Awani and all those who played a role in the success of the event, which was rescheduled to Durban, after Kigali, the initial host, was curtailed in its preparations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Durban had only four months to prepare for the event, whose opening ceremony was graced with the presence of seven Heads of State and Government, including President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, President Lazarus Chakwere of Malawi.
“Others were President Hakainde Hichilema of Zambia, President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe, Hon. Hussein Mwinyi of Zanzibar and the Rwandan Prime Minister, Hon. Edouard Ngirente, all whose presence Obasanjo described as proof of commitment to the IATF at the highest level.”
Awani, however, said that Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, would host the third IATF in 2023.
IATF2021, was organised by Afreximbank in collaboration with the African Union (AU) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat.
IATF2021 provided a platform to promote trade under the AfCFTA and brought together continental and global buyers and sellers.
It also enabled stakeholders to share trade, investment and market information as well as trade finance and trade facilitation solutions designed to support intra-African trade and the economic integration of the continent.