Former President of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo, has launched the next Intra-African Trade Fair slated for 2023 in the Ivorian capital Abidjan, noting that last year’s edition which was held in South Africa, was a “resounding success”.
The launch in Accra on Friday, January 14, 2022, followed the successful organization of the 2021 edition from 15 to 21 November in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, where some seven sitting heads of state and governments, participated.
The first edition of the fair, was held in Cairo Egypt at a very short notice after attempt to hold it in Kigali failed.
In a statement to update the media on the 2021 edition, the former President who doubles as the Chairperson of the IATF2021 Advisory Council, described the fair, which is held every two years, as having met every expectation and commended all stakeholders for their contribution.
Despite the devastating effect of the global pandemic COVID-19 spanning from early 2020 and its impact on supply chains, he said “It was gratifying that we held a very successful trade fair”.
He said the second edition of the fair provided the platform for trade and trade-related investment deals worth more than $42billion with participants coming from all walks of life.
“It provided a meeting platform for trade and investment deals worth more than 42 billion US dollars to be closed in just one week, with participants from all over the world.
It projected the creativity and ingenious capacity of African youth and women, as well as the display of the potential of the African automotive industry.
We are extremely proud to say that IATF 2021 turned out to be a resoundingly successful week that met all our expectations”, he said.
The former President added that “IATF epitomized by all measures, what can be achieved if we come together to support this continental cause, believing in our own capacities and abilities as Africans to lead from the front in changing our socio-economic situation.
The IATF is an important component of our efforts at righting the wrongs of the past, and breaking down borders, and building bridges to help us achieve the ambition of agenda 2063 in the Africa we want”.
According to him, the success of the maiden edition in the Egyptian national capital Cairo, provided the building blocks for the successful outing on Durban last year.
Adding “We must therefore ensure that our efforts, aimed at growing intra-African trade are sustained so that IATF 2023 will again provide an opportunity for exhibitors to showcase their goods and services and engage business-to-business exchanges and conclude different deals that will change the fortune of the continent”.
The former President said the successful hosting of IATF last year clearly showed the determination and resilience of the African spirit. He revealed the expected number of participants and exhibitors were also exceeded.
Against a target of 1,100 exhibitors, IATF 2021 saw 1,161 exhibitors showcase their goods and services. While the organisers aimed for at least 10,000 participants, the event attracted over 30,000 participants of which 11,828 were in person.
While applauding the successful nature of last year’s organization, the former President noted the challenges that bedeviled the organization of the event which he said must be overcome.
With the successful launch last Friday which was witnessed by the Ivorian Ambassador to Ghana and Togo TiemokoMoriko, Professor Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Director of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) Prof. Benedict Oramah, Secretary General of the AfCFTA Secretariat WamkeleMene, interested individuals, groups organizations including delegates, exhibitors, investors, media, countries were requested to register for the Abidjan fair next year.
Interested participants can visit wwwintrafricantradefair.com for both the physical and virtual registrations.
Some of the countries that participated were Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt, Angola, Algeria, Cote d’Iviore. South Africa.
Managing Director (MD), Intra-African Trade Initiative, Afrexim bank, Mrs KanayoAwani said the fair was a fine opportunity for African markets to trade among themselves and also close the gap in trade and investment on the continent.
She said the IATF was initiated to deal with the lack of access to markets and trade in Africa.
She was hopeful that the next fair will be built on the great success that has been chalked in the first two fairs organized in Cairo and Durban respectively.
While inviting countries, private and public sector institutions, corporate Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), delegates and sponsors, Mrs Kanayo noted that the aim of the fair is to use trade to transform the continent and its people.