Afreximbank sees intra-African trade as key to unlocking Africa’s true potential as third Intra-African Trade Fair opens

Categories: Press Releases

(From left to right) Prof. Benedict Oramah, President & Chairman of Afreximbank, H.E. Ahmed Samir Saleh, Minister of Trade and industry of Egypt, Mrs. Kanayo Awani, Exec. VP, IATB and Mr. Yahya Elwathik Bellah, Deputy Minister of Trade

Cairo, 9 November 2023: The third Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2023) kicked off in Cairo today with Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria and Chairman of the IATF2023 Advisory Council, saying that intra-African trade holds the key to unlocking Africa’s true potential and fuelling economic growth, fostering industrialisation and creating job opportunities for the people of the continent.

Addressing participants and guests at the trade fair, Chief Obasanjo said that beyond being just an exhibition of goods and services, IATF2023 was a platform for networking, collaboration and knowledge sharing and was bringing together entrepreneurs, investors, innovators, and policymakers from across Africa and its Diaspora to exchange ideas, forge partnerships and explore new opportunities.

“It is through this spirit of cooperation and collaboration that we will unlock the untapped potential of our continent,” he said, adding that the trade fair signified the commitment of Africa and its diaspora nations to economic integration and to their collective determination to create a prosperous future.

President Obasanjo called on African government leaders, policy makers, and representatives to foster an environment conducive to trade by eliminating unnecessary bureaucracy, harmonising regulations and investing in necessary infrastructure. IATF2023 was a stepping stone towards a future where African nations traded freely, breaking down barriers and opening doors of opportunities for all, he added.

He urged entrepreneurs and innovators to seize the moment to build bridges of commerce between nations and within communities by embracing the spirit of entrepreneurship and leveraging technology to unlock new markets, connect small-scale farmers with global partners and empower women-owned businesses.

Earlier, Ahmed Samir Saleh, Minister of Trade and industry of Egypt, had welcomed guests to the trade fair and expressed Egypt’s happiness at hosting the event.

The ceremony also featured the projection of a hologram of Kwame Nkrumah, the former President of Ghana who was a key proponent of a united Africa.

IATF2023 is Africa’s largest trade and investment fair projected to attract over 1,600 exhibitors and 35,000 visitors and buyers. Trade and investment deals valued at US$43 billion are expected to be concluded during the trade fair seen as a must attend event for everyone interested in trade and investments in Africa’s single market of 1.4 billion people created by the AfCFTA which has a combined gross domestic product of over US$3.5 trillion. Attendees include buyers, sellers, importers, exporters, investors, manufacturers, captains of industry, senior government ministers, trade finance and advisory specialists, trade and economic organisations, senior executives from corporates and multinationals and innovative entrepreneurs from across Africa and beyond.

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About the Intra-African Trade Fair

Organised by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) is intended to provide a unique platform for facilitating trade and investment information exchange in support of increased intra-African trade and investment, especially in the context of implementing the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). IATF brings together continental and global players to showcase and exhibit their goods and services and to explore business and investment opportunities in the continent. It also provides a platform to share trade, investment and market information with stakeholders and allows participants to discuss and identify solutions to the challenges confronting intra-African trade and investment. In addition to African participants, the Trade Fair is also open to businesses and investors from non-African countries interested in doing business in Africa and in supporting the continent’s transformation through industrialisation and export development.

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About Afreximbank

African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is a Pan-African multilateral financial institution mandated to finance and promote intra-and extra-African trade. For 30 years, the Bank has been deploying innovative structures to deliver financing solutions that support the transformation of the structure of Africa’s trade, accelerating industrialization and intra-regional trade, thereby boosting economic expansion in Africa. A stalwart supporter of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), Afreximbank has launched a Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) that was adopted by the African Union (AU) as the payment and settlement platform to underpin the implementation of the AfCFTA. Working with the AfCFTA Secretariat and the AU, the Bank is setting up a US$10 billion Adjustment Fund to support countries to effectively participate in the AfCFTA. At the end of 2022, Afreximbank’s total assets and guarantees stood at over US$31 billion, and its shareholder funds amounted to US$5.2 billion. The Bank disbursed more than US$86 billion between 2016 and 2022. Afreximbank has investment grade ratings assigned by GCR (international scale) (A), Moody’s (Baa1), Japan Credit Rating Agency (JCR) (A-) and Fitch (BBB). Afreximbank has evolved into a group entity comprising the Bank, its impact fund subsidiary called the Fund for Export Development Africa (FEDA), and its insurance management subsidiary, AfrexInsure, (together, “the Group”).

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