Obasanjo Heads Advisory Council for Intra-African Trade Fair


Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja

The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has inaugurated an Advisory Council for the inaugural Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2018), with former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo as Chairman.

Egypt has been selected as the preferred host for the inaugural fair following a competitive bidding process.
A former President of Afreximbank, Jean-Louis Ekra

is the Deputy Chairman of the Advisory Council, which is charged with the responsibility of providing guidance for the preparations for the trade fair scheduled to hold in Cairo between December 11 and 17, 2018.

Also represented on the Council, according to a statement issued by the Director in charge of the Communications Department of Afreximbank, Mr. Obi Emekekwue, are the African Union Commission; African Development Bank; Pan-African Chamber of Commerce and Industry; World Trade Centre, Miami; International Trade Centre, Egypt, as the host country; the AfroChampions Initiative; and PixyKorner, the professional trade fair organiser retained for the event. Afreximbank is serving as the Secretariat.

At the inaugural meeting of the Council in Kigali on March 22, 2018, Afreximbank President, Dr. Benedict Oramah said that the role of the body was to be the main driver for the planning of the trade fair in order to ensure that it achieved the objective of driving intra-African trade.

Oramah announced that Egypt had been selected as the preferred host for the inaugural fair following a competitive bidding process, and stated that the fair would take place every two years
Ekra also announced that although President Obasanjo had travelled to Kigali to attend the meeting, he had had to leave to attend to some urgent matters and had sent his apologies for not being able to attend.

The meeting of the advisory Council marked the culmination of a series of activities relating to the trade fair which Afreximbank had organized on the sidelines of the Extraordinary Summit of the African Union. The Extraordinary Summit was convened for the signing of the Agreement for the African Continental Free Trade Area.
On March 20, Afreximbank, the African Union and the Egypt government signed the hosting agreement for the trade fair.

This was followed on March 21 by the formal launch of the trade fair, including the unveiling of the IATF2018 plaque and a press conference to announce the event.