The organisers of the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2021) has met with the business community in Cape Town on to raise awareness about the substantial benefits of attending the continental trade fair.
Organised by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) in collaboration with the African Union (AU) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, IATF2021 will take place in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, in November 2021.
In her opening remarks, Oluranti Doherty, Director for Export Development at Afreximbank reminded the guests of the immediate and future opportunities offered by IATF2021 now that the historic African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) has come into force.
“Unlocking the AfCFTA market will require a change of mindset, it will require courage on the part of traders to seek out new market opportunities on the continent, rather than the current convention of jumping on a plane to China and other countries overseas,” said Ms. Doherty. “we see the IATF playing a significant role in making intra-African trade a reality thereby supporting the implementation of the AfCFTA by providing a platform for buyers and sellers, investors and governments, to connect, exchange trade, investment and market information and conclude business deals,” she added.
In his Keynote speech, Nhlakanipho Nkontwana, Head of Department at the South African Ministry of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, said: “We are confident that IATF2021 will be hosted safely in November in Durban. Our government has been working closely with IATF2021 organisers to determine the measures to be taken in planning and hosting such big events.”
“We are committing to expediting beneficiation of our precious metals and not allow them to be exported as raw material and come back as finished product. This is critical for localisation, for job creation, skills development and our youth and women,” he added.
The IATF2021 Roadshow in Cape Town featured a panel discussion under the theme ‘Unlocking Regional and Global Value Chains Through the Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)’ with the participation of Mr. Andrew Masuwa, Head of Client Relations at Afreximbank’s Southern Africa regional Office; Lara Utian-Preston, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of The Ladima Foundation; and Mr. Salman Katjie, Head of InvestSA, One Stop Shop (Western Cape).
Closing Remarks at the Roadshow were made by Ms. Oluranti Doherty who said that IATF2021 would provide the networking opportunities and the new business contacts that will help businesses to take advantage of the opportunities to grow and create employment.
“We believe that South Africa is poised to be a major beneficiary of this. It would be wrong not to mention some of the challenges, however we believe that these challenges would in fact create investment and business opportunities: the infrastructure gap, the need to modernise and industrialise, the need for diversification and beneficiation,” Ms. Doherty told guests.