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The Intra-African Trade Fair

The Rationale for the Trade Fair

Analysis by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) shows that one of the reasons why intra-African trade sits at a paltry 16% on average, is the lack of access to trade and market information. To address this challenge, the Afreximbank decided to, among other initiatives, convene bi-ennial Trade Fairs to create a much-needed platform with the view to connecting buyers and sellers from across the continent and provide trade, investment and market information to facilitate the conclusion of deals.

What IATF 2020 has to offer?

IATF2020 follows the highly successful inaugural Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2018) held in Cairo, in December 2018. IATF2018 attracted over 1000 exhibitors and 2500 conference participants from 45 countries and generated over US$32 billion in trade deals.

IATF2020 will consist of:

  • a 7-day Exhibition
  • a 3-day Trade and Investment Forum comprising of:
    • The IATF2020 Conference - featuring discussions on trade, investment, finance, industrialization, trade facilitation, etc.) – and training opportunities for traders on how to export within the continent and twinning arrangements.
    • Business to Business and Business to Government matchmaking and exchanges - buyers and sellers, governments and investors will meet and conclude business and investment deals.
    • Dedicated Country Days – for selected countries to showcase their trade, investment, tourism and cultural opportunities
  • A Virtual Trade Fair - an interactive online platform where buyers, sellers, exhibitors and countries will showcase their goods, services and investment opportunities.
  • A Creative Industry Focus - which includes a Fashion Show, Creative Africa Summit, and Creative Industry Exhibition. 

 

Primary Objectives of the Intra-African Trade Fair

  1. To bring together continental and global players to showcase and exhibit their goods and services, and to explore business and investment opportunities in Africa
  2. To serve as a marketplace where buyers and sellers of goods and services meet and explore business opportunities
  3. To provide a platform for B2B exchanges and development of business opportunities
  4. To share trade, investment and market information with stakeholders including investors, SMEs, the informal sector, Africans in Diaspora, and to identify solutions to address the challenges affecting intra-African trade
  5. For Afreximbank and other financial institutions, to share information about their trade finance and trade facilitation interventions that will support intra-African trade
  6. To discuss topical issues affecting intra-African trade and provide practical and effective solutions
  7. To deploy multi-country and multi-company pavilions that will serve as one-stop shop for intra-African trade and investment opportunities in Africa

What is Intra-African Trade?

Afreximbank defines intra-African Trade as the trade in goods and services between or among African countries and the flow of goods and services between Africa and Africans in the Diaspora. The scope of intra-African Trade has also been broadened to include informal cross border trade to enable the Bank to design special products and dedicate resources to formalize this trade. 

Afreximbank Strategy to promote Intra-African Trade

The Trade Fair is informed by Afreximbank’s strategy for the promotion of Intra-African Trade. The strategy can be summarized under three key pillars: Create, Connect and Deliver

Create: This pillar supports the production of goods and services with a view to enhancing engagement in regional trade. It seeks to build capacity for the expansion of production and processing capabilities, with a focus on agricultural production, agro-processing, manufacturing and services.

Connect: Afrexim seeks to provide traders with links to various markets on the continent. The Bank aims to identify institutions and agents that are able to facilitate the connection of demand and supply across markets. This pillar is central to the trade fair, which is aimed at bringing relevant entities together and facilitating business growth and opportunities.

Deliver Here the focus is on facilitating the provision of efficient and cost-effective distribution channels within the continent. This includes the creation of transport logistics, storage and service payment systems, and buyer-financing arrangements which will help to accelerate the flow of goods and services to buyers, thereby creating a market.

The Trade Fair will contribute towards the bank’s objective to increase intra-African trade from USD170 billion in 2014 to USD 250 billion and by so doing, ensure that intra-African trade share of Africa’s total trade reaches 22% by 2021. “Conservatively, intra-Africa trade is a USD 6 trillion opportunity for Africa in the short term and USD 12 trillion in the long term” (Amy Jadesimi: Forbes, May 23 2017). Afreximbank will use the Trade Fair as well as other interventions to assist the continent to realise its trade potential and achieve positive transformation for Africa.