Over $40 billion worth of trade and investment deals are expected to be sealed during the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) 2021 to be held in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
The programme slated for November 15-21, 2021 would be held under the theme “Building bridges for a successful African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).”
It is an initiative of the Afreximbank, African Union, and the AfCFTA to promote trade among African countries.
The Executive Vice President (VP) in charge of Finance and Administration and Banking Services of Afreximbank, MrDenys Denya, disclosed this during the launch of the IATF2021 Ghana Roadshow in Accra yesterday to create awareness on the fair.
He said the programme was expected to be attended by 10,000 people from 55 countries.
“The conference will have 1,100 exhibitors and 5,000 conference participants and it is meant to promote trade and investments in Africa,” he said.
Mr Denya said the AfCFTA offered opportunity for Africa to take off the shackles that hinder trade and development of the Africancontinent through value addition to its natural resources.
He said Afreximbak had provided about $1.7 billion to support businesses in Ghana and also supporting deals worth of $500 million.
On the road show, Mr Denya said the launch was to provide businesses with information about the fair.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Alan Kyerematen, in a speech read on his behalf by his deputy, Herbert Krapa, said government was committed to the implementation of the AfCFTA, saying that was the reason why the President, Nana Addo DankwaAkufo Addo, fought for the AfCFTA Secretariat in Accra.
“The Ministry of Trade and Industry will continue to partner and support the private sector as well as help build their capacity to take advantage of the AfCFTA,” he said.
Mr Kyerematendisclosed that the government had completed the Action Plan for the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and would soon be launched.
He appealed to the organisers to develop mechanism to track the impact of the trade fair and adopt electronic to hold a virtual version during the hosting of the programme.
The Secretary General of the AfCFTA Secretariat,Wamkele Mene, in a speech read on his behalf, said this year’s trade show was the second be held since the history of Africa.
He said the first was held in December 2018 in Egypt, indicating that during the meeting the modalities for the liberalisation of trade in Africa was adopted.
Mr Mene said the AfCFTA would create one of the biggest trade market in the world with a population of 1.3 billion with a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $3.4 trillion.
“If we put our acts together Africa will be able to attain 8.5 trillion GDP by 2035 through AfCFTA,” he said.
William Obeng, General Manager for Corporate Banking of Ghana Exim Bank, for his part said, the short to medium term objective of the bank was to support the 1D1F initiative of the government and also help build the capacities of industries so they could tap the benefits AfCFTA presented.
He said Ghana Exim Bank had supported about 120 companies in the areas of pharmaceutical, cocoa processing, creative arts and oil palm.
Mr Obeng entreated the private sector in Ghana to take advantage of the programme to strike new business deals and seek new partnership.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority, Dr AfuaAsabea Asare, said her outfit was proud to be associated with the programme.
BY KINGSLEY ASARE