Côte d’Ivoire has signed the hosting agreement for the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2023), which officially confers it as the Host of IATF2023.
The agreement which took place in Abidjan was between Côte d’Ivoire , African Export Import Bank (Afreximbank), the African Union (AU) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat.
The IATF2023 which will be the third edition of the African continent’s premier trade and investment event ffollowed the successful second edition held in November 2021 in Durban, South Africa, which realised over $42.1 billion in trade and investment deals, with 1501 exhibitors and over 32,500 attendees from 128 countries across Africa and beyond.
President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank, Prof. Benedict Oramah, said: “The IATF has become a platform for actualising the vision of the African continental Free Trade Agreement.
“It is opening up new trade routes, rapidly expanding knowledge of the continents trading environment and exposing our cultural heritage to our markets and faraway consumers.
“The combined $75 billion in deals sealed during the Durban and Cairo trade fairs are reminders of the abundant intra-African trade and investment potentials.
“They represent the remarkable trade and investment arrangements that wouldn’t have seen the light if not for the trade fair.’’
Citing instances of some of the successes as a result of the IATF, he said: “For instance, the Government of Malawi has expanded the market for his agricultural products to South Sudan and other African markets.
“Thanks to the bilateral government to government trade deals signed during the 2021 trade fair.
“It was at the 2018 Inter African trade fair that the $2.9 billion Rufiji dam project was signed between the Government of Tanzania and Egyptian contractors, making it the largest ever intra-African EPC contract.
“We are happy that that project is going on smoothly.
“When the curtains fell in Durban, new business relationships were forged, governments found new sources of food, capital goods and other items. African banks found new opportunities for regional expansion.
“Fashion designers found new markets where the African creative industry found a new convening platform called the Creative Africa Nexus (CANEX).”
According to Oramah, the IATF train has since left the South African base where it was a few months ago and has come to West Africa to build on the successes.
“When it arrives in Abidjan in November 2023, it will make a stop in familiar territory, in a country that also values continental integration, and has been at the forefront to push for Africa’s collective self-reliance since the early1960s.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors and Management of Afreximbank, I thank HIS Excellency, President Alassane Ouattara of Côte d’Ivoire.
“I thank His Excellency, Prime Minister Patrick Achi, as well as the entire Government and People of Côte d’Ivoire for accepting to host the third edition of the trade fair.
“It is a responsibility that Côte d’Ivoire has willingly assumed and which we sincerely appreciate and applaud,’’ he said.
Prime Minister Patrick Achi, who represented President Alassane Ouattara of Côte d’Ivoire, commended the IATF2023 Advisory Council for their resilience, commitment and efforts to develop African economy.
He said that the country was committed to ensuring a successful hosting of the IATF2023.
“This is an honour bestowed on Côte d’Ivoire and the leadership of the country for the economic development and strengthening of trade development in the African Continent.
“It is evident that this will consolidate the business and economic intensity of the continent.’’
Also, His Excellency Souleymane Diarrassouba, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Côte d’Ivoire, affirmed that the IATF has helped to boost economic development of the African continent.
According to him, the IATF2023 serves as an opportunity to further showcase, exhibit and foster trade and joint ventures among others.
He assured that the event, as part of the vision of the Government of Côte d’Ivoire’s development plan, would overcome the impact of COVID-19 and deliver a fruitful and collaborative engagement.