Timo Shihepo recently in Niamey
The second Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) is estimated to generate over US$40 billion in trade deals, an increase from US$32.6 billion recorded from the first IATF held in Egypt in 2018.
The second IATF is going to be hosted in Kigali, Rwanda, from 1 to 7 September 2020 with the aim of bringing businesses and experts together to improve intra-African trade.
Intra-African trade is at 16% of total African trade, on average, as a result of lack of access to trade and market information. To address this challenge, Africa Export import Bank (Afreximbank) in conjunction with the African Union, decided to among other initiatives, convene biennial trade fairs to provide trade and market information, to connect buyers and sellers from across the continent and provide opportunities for matchmaking, business exchanges and conclusion of business and investment deals, among other objectives.
The 2020 IATF is hoping to attract about 10 000 participants from 55 African and international countries, and over 1,100 exhibitors.
Speaking during the formal launch of the 2020 IATF in Niger during the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Business Forum 2019 held on the sidelines of the 12th Extraordinary Summit of AU Heads of State in Niamey, Afreximbank president Benedict Oramah said they expect the financial transactions to be better than that was recorded in 2018.
“We will build on the resounding success of the 2018 trade fair, where we had financial transactions reaching up to US$32.6 billion,” he said.
Oramah said several African companies walked away with billions and millions of dollars from the trade fair in Egypt. A Nigerian technology company won a US$100-million contract to provide technology-based solutions to the South Sudanese government; an Egyptian company won contracts in many African countries to supply and install energy generation and distribution equipment worth close to US$1 billion; Egyptian and Tunisian companies signed a US$50-million partnership deal to create a joint venture for assembling home appliances; and the signing of a US$3-billion energy generation project between an Egyptian company and an African government, the largest-ever intra-African project executed exclusively by African entities, including financial institutions.
Rwanda’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Soraya Hakuziyaremye, told The Southern Times that it was an honour for Rwanda to host the second IATF as it is an event that brings many African people together to build a better future for the continent.
“We are hoping to be the host that allow exhibitors to showcase their unique products. The IATF is an event that gives a platform to small and medium enterprises to penetrate the local market, regional market all the way up to international markets,” she said.
On Kigali being selected as the host city, she said, “There was a bidding process, Kigali was selected and we are happy with that. However, it is an event that will be hosted every two years, meaning that countries will have their chances of hosting this important fair,” she said.