December 8, 2021

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IATF2021 Conference Makes Way for CANEX

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Durban, November 19th, 2021 – The second Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2021) concluded on November 18, 2021 in Durban, South Africa, with the African Export-Import Bank praising the trade fair’s contribution to addressing the difficulty of African enterprises conducting business with counterparts within the continent.

In a closing statement, Amr Kamel, Afreximbank’s Executive Vice President for Business Development and Corporate Banking, said the IATF was formed after Afreximbank conducted surveys that revealed a lack of knowledge about how and who to do business with in Africa was a recurring challenge for most businesses.

According to Mr. Kamel, the IATF2021 Conference provided crucial chances for exchanging information and ideas in support of the goal of building trade pathways across Africa to bring the AfCFTA to reality.

“We must continue to develop creative financial instruments that will help the AfCFTA improve,” he said, adding that the conference was indicative of Afreximbank’s sustained importance in Africa.

Participants showed considerable optimism about Africa’s future in a session on investment into Africa earlier in the day, with Charles Robertson, Chief Economist of Renaissance Capital, telling the audience that “Africa continues to outperform other economies in the middle of a global recession.”

Participants showed considerable optimism about Africa’s future in a session on investment into Africa earlier in the day, with Charles Robertson, Chief Economist of Renaissance Capital, telling the audience that “Africa continues to outperform other economies in the middle of a global recession.”

Morocco, according to Abdou Souleye Diop, Managing Partner at Mazars, is a model for how an African economy may encourage regional growth, drawing both global and regional foreign direct investment and establishing itself as a corporate, transportation, and economic hub.

Mr. Diop added, “Morocco has the fastest expanding economy in the world, with substantial investment potential in the automotive, textiles, digital, and agro-industries.” “What Morocco did differently was to prioritize the private sector on the ground and to nurture Moroccan industrial champions.”

According to Mr Diop, the main impediment to the AfCFTA’s goals being realized is likely to be restricted human movement. Mr. Diop asked African governments to sign a free movement of persons pact to prevent Africa’s intellectual property from leaking into other continents that may be more receptive of African labor.

In his contribution, Ndiarka Mbodji, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Kowry Electricity GmbH, described energy supply inconsistency as one of Africa’s major hurdles to industrialisation. He urged African countries to determine their own energy needs and to ensure that low-cost energy was available at the point of manufacture, particularly for SMEs, in order for the industrial sectors to thrive.

Lekau Sehoana, CEO of Drip SA, a footwear manufacturer and distributor that aims to take use of the AfCFTA’s potential, stated that African SMEs should retain control over how consumers interacted with their products up until the moment of purchase and delivery. Keeping that ability, he says, is critical to deciding how products reach new markets across the continent and how new consumers interact with businesses.

Ebrahim Patel, South Africa’s Minister of Trade and Industry, outlined the many interventions that his ministry has in place to assist traders conducting business in the country in the day’s last session.

Paulo Gomes, the founder of Paulo Gomes & Partners, called for more collaboration between the corporate and governmental sectors, saying, “If we are to fully utilize trade prospects, we need to reassess our economies and introduce ethics and values, layering this with thinking outside the box.”

The seven-day IATF2021, organized by Afreximbank in collaboration with the African Union and the AfCFTA Secretariat, is a platform for promoting trade under the AfCFTA, with over 6,000 buyers, sellers, and other stakeholders sharing trade, investment, and market information, as well as trade finance and trade facilitation solutions designed to support intra-African trade and economic integration. IATF2021 will end on November 21, 2021.

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