SOUTH AFRICA – The second Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2021) will be taking place in Durban, the organizers have announced.
This event is organized by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) in collaboration with the African Union (AU) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) secretariat and is expected to take place from November 15 until November 21.
The continental trade fair was previously due to be held in Kigali, Rwanda.
The decision to move the fair to Durban was made by the Advisory Council of IATF2021 and was arrived at after formal consultations with the Government of Rwanda, who indicated that logistical constraints related to the Covid-19 pandemic had adversely affected the progress of construction of a new facility to host the event.
Commenting on the decision, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, IATF2021 Advisory Council Chairman and former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, commended the Government of Rwanda, Afreximbank, the AU, the AfCFTA Secretariat, and all IATF stakeholders for showing great resilience in adapting to the uncertain environment arising from the Covid-19 pandemic situation.
“We have once again been able to shoulder the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, which is affecting all sectors worldwide and forcing governments, corporates and individuals to take unprecedented measures to ensure public safety and keep economies running,” said Chief Obasanjo.
“Relocating IATF2021 to Durban saves us time on the calendar and will enable African countries and corporates, as part of their recovery strategy, to take full advantage of the trade fair, which is also an important component of the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement under which trading commenced this year.”
“Having undertaken a comprehensive assessment of the measures that are being taken by the AU and Afreximbank under the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) as well as other initiatives to procure vaccines for the continent, we believe that a significant number of people would have been vaccinated by November and this will allow us to have a successful event. We will continue working with the Government of South Africa to ensure that all the Covid-19 measures are complied with during the trade fair as the safety of both residents and visitors is paramount,” Chief Obasanjo added.
“Relocating IATF2021 to Durban saves us time on the calendar and will enable African countries and corporates, as part of their recovery strategy, to take full advantage of the trade fair, which is also an important component of the implementation of the AfCFTA under which trading commenced this year”Olusegun Obasanjo – Chairman, IATF2021 Advisory Council
Welcoming the conference, premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Sihle Zikalala, commented: “As KwaZulu-Natal, we are honored to host this important gathering of the world as we implement our own Economic Reconstruction, Recovery and Transformation Plan. Our approach is to carefully balance the protection of lives against promoting and sustaining livelihoods.”
“We look forward to welcoming the delegates to the trade fair. This gathering is one of the most significant strategic interventions to remind us of our interconnectedness, and of the urgent need to promote intra-Africa trade to reignite economic opportunities and create much-needed jobs for all our people.”
The IATF2021 is intended to provide a platform that will allow trade under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement and serve as a marketplace bringing together continental and global buyers and sellers.
The event will also enable stakeholders to share trade, investment and market information as well as trade finance and trade facilitation solutions designed to support intra-African trade and African economic integration.
The latest available statistics indicate that intra-Africa trade for 2019 was valued at US$69 billion; 5 percent less than in 2018 (with data from 35 of the 55 African countries).
The level of intra-Africa trade accounted for just 15 percent of Africa’s total trade in 2019; the same as for 2018.
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