ECOWAS Participates at the 2nd Intra-African Trade Fair in Durban25 Nov, 2021
|Durban, South Africa, November 21, 2021. The Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) participated in the 2nd Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) 2021 held in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa from November 15 – 21, 2021.
Organised by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), in collaboration with the African Union (AU) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, the 2nd IATF provided a platform to promote trade under the AfCFTA. It brought together continental and global buyers and sellers, and enabled stakeholders to share trade, investment and market information as well as trade finance and trade facilitation solutions designed to support intra-African trade and the economic integration of the continent. In addition to establishing business-to-business and business-to-government exchange platforms for business deals and advisory services, IATF 2021 also operated IATF 2021 Virtual, an interactive online platform that replicated the physical event.
The IATF 2021 Conference, which was run alongside the exhibition, featured high-profile speakers and panellists addressing topical issues relating to trade, trade finance, payments, trade facilitation, trade-enabling infrastructure, trade standards, industrialisation, regional value chains and investment. Other side events included the IATF Automotive show and the Creative Africa Nexus (CANEX) summit.
The opening ceremony featured remarks from seven (7) sitting and former Heads of State and Government including President Cyril RAMAPHOSA of South Africa, President Muhammadu BUHARI of Nigeria, President Lazarus CHAKWERE of Malawi, President Hakainde HICHILEMA of Zambia, President Emmerson MNANGAGWA of Zimbabwe, Hon. Hussein MWINYI of Zanzibar and the Rwandan Prime Minister, Hon. Edouard NGIRENTE, as well as H.E. Olusegun OBASANJO, former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Chair of the IATF Advisory Council.
Amongst the over 1,100 exhibitors was the ECOWAS Commission, as well as number of ECOWAS Member States including Cote d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo. Furthermore, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria held their respective country days at the Fair, presenting them with an opportunity to show case their trade, investment, tourism and cultural opportunities.
The ECOWAS Commission’s exhibition stand provided information about ECOWAS, as well as various priority community development programmes and projects. In his visit to the stand, the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry of the Republic of Ghana, Honourable Herbert KRAPA, commended ECOWAS for its efforts to promote trade in and with West Africa. He reiterated the commitment of Ghana, as Chair of the community, to continue to champion the process of deepening of regional integration.
On behalf of the ECOWAS Commissioner for Trade, Customs and Free Movement Mr. Tei KONZI, the Acting Director of Trade, Mr. Kolawole SOFOLA thanked Honourable KRAPA for visiting the ECOWAS exhibition stand and for Ghana’s leadership in the region. He expressed the Commission’s commitment to support Member States to take advantage of the opportunities under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Cote d’Ivoire won the bid to host the 3rd IATF in 2023, whilst Ghana was awarded with the best exhibition stand of the 2nd IATF.
The Fair was attended by 1,161 exhibitors, 838 companies from 59 Countries of which 46 came from Africa. Business deals worth an estimated USD 36 billion concluded.