The second Intra Africa Trade Fair (IATF 2021), which took place in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, in South Africa, has raised the hope on stronger bilateral trade between Nigeria and other African countries, just as it closed with business deals worth $36 billion, the organisers have said.
President Muhammadu Buhari, in his speech during the opening ceremony of the second Intra African Trade Fair 2021, assured the organisers that Nigeria would take advantage of the Intra Africa Trade Fair to boost its trade relationship with other African countries, with a view to improving Nigeria’s exports.
“Let me assure you that Nigeria has come to Durban in full force to actively participate in this very important trade fair and take full advantage of all the opportunities it provides, ”Buhari told the audience.
Presenting the preliminary report at the close of the IATF 2021 in Durban, the Managing Director of Afreximbank’s Intra African Trade Initiative, Mrs. Kanayo Awani, reported that 11,828 people attended the event physically, while over 27,000 did so virtually via the IATF Virtual platform, which streamed the event live and offered other features that replicated the physical trade fair, bringing the total number of participants to about 39,000. Participants at IATF 2021 came from 128 countries around the world, Nigeria inclusive.
While explaining that business deals were still going on and that some of the deals already closed were still being compiled, Awani disclosed that the deals concluded as of November 21, 2021 amounted to $36 billion, exceeding the $32 billion mark set at IATF 2018.
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, showcase their goods and services, in what was recognized as a massively successful event.
At the forum, up to four country-day were organised, dedicated to South Africa, Egypt, Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria. The number of participants at the country-day celebration doubled the number that featured in the inaugural Cairo 2018 event, according to the organisers.
Former Nigerian President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Chairman of the IATF Advisory Council, described IATF as a movement towards an economically reliable Africa.
Obasanjo complimented the President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank, Prof. Benedict Oramah.
Durban, it was gathered, 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, 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 Chief Obasanjo described as “proof of commitment to the IATF at the highest level.”
The the third IATF in 2023, is scheduled to hold in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire,
Organised by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) in collaboration with the African Union (AU) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, the second Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF 2021) took place in Durban from 15 to 21 November 2021.
According to the organisers, IATF 2021 provided a platform to promote trade under the AfCFTA. It brought together continental and global buyers and sellers, and 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.
In addition to establishing business-to-business and business-to-government exchange platforms for business deals and advisory services, IATF 2021 also focused on Africa’s creative economy as well as the automotive industry with dedicated programmes.