The Advisory Council of the second Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2021) convened on 4 September 2020 for its seventh session to review the event workplan and other initiatives accompanying the Trade Fair. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Advisory Council met virtually for the second time.
President Olusegun Obasanjo, the Chairman of the IATF2021 Advisory Council and former President of Nigeria welcomed the Deputy Chairperson of the IATF2021 Advisory Council and former President of Afreximbank, Mr. Jean Louis Ekra; the President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank, Professor Benedict Oramah; the AU Commissioner for Trade and Industry, Ambassador Albert Muchanga; The Minister of Trade and Industry of Rwanda, Soraya Hakuziyaremye and other attendees.
In his opening remarks, President Obasanjo also welcomed as a new member of the Advisory Council the Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, Mr. Wamkele Mene, who was represented at the meeting by Mr. Silver Ojakol, Chief of Staff of the AfCFTA Secretariat.
Addressing the meeting, President Obasanjo thanked all present for attending the virtual session, reiterating his hope that all was well, safe and in observance of all the safety protocols. He also highlighted the difficulty in the necessary decisions made to postpone the event in light of the COVID-19 pandemic situation, giving the continent and the world more time to adjust to the challenges of the pandemic and avoiding the risk of postponing the Event more than once.
“The choice of the month of September 2021 was also meant to accord countries and businesses enough time to recover from the effects of Covid-19 pandemic, and we expect that by then, global travel and global commerce and supply chains would have gotten back to normal,” explained President Obasanjo while stressing the importance of the completion of all necessary plans to ensure a flawless execution of IATF2021.
The Minster of Trade and Industry of Rwanda, Soraya Hakuziyaremye, provided an update on progress being made as host country for IATF2021 in Kigali. Reed Exhibitions, the trade fair organisers gave presentations on the various aspects of IATF2021 plan, from the country pavilions, the exhibitions as well as the series of virtual events taking place as part of the countdown campaign to IATF2021.
Terhas Berhe Asefaw, Managing Director of Brand Communications Group who are the organisers of the conference segment of IATF2021 reported on the progress being made and the program to be executed during the Trade Fair.
Other members of the Advisory council in attendance were Ms. Kanayo Awani, Managing Director of Afreximbank’s Intra-African Trade Initiative, Mr. Batanai Chikwene, Programme Management Officer at the African Trade Policy Centre; Mr. Amadou Cire Sall, Senior Associate-Trade at the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation; Ms. Kemi Arosanyin, Director at World Trade Centre Miami; Mr. Richard Adu-Gyamfi, Special Advisor at the AfroChampions Initiative; Hon. Tarek Shalaby, Assistant Minister of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Trade and Industry of Egypt; and Mr. Mamadou Y. Diarra, Project Coordinator of the Pan-African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI).
Rounding out the attendance at the 7th Advisory council meeting were the promoters, collaborators and organisers of IATF2021, Invest Africa-IATF2021 Counsultant, members of staff of Afreximbank, representatives from the Ministry of Trade and Industry of Rwanda, representatives of the African Union Commission, and members of staff of Reed Exhibitions and Brand Communications.