IATF2023 Roadshow informs UAE private sector on trade and investment opportunities across Africa


The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC) and African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) secretariat, today hosted an official business roadshow in Dubai, the UAE, ahead of the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF 2023) to be held from 9th to 15th November 2023 in Cairo, Egypt.

H.E. Humaid Mohamed Ben Salem, Secretary General-Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry, emphasised how the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry “is here to help and to support African companies” in doing business in and with the UAE.

Mrs. Kanayo Awani, Executive Vice President, Intra-African Trade Bank, Afreximbank, spoke about how the Intra-African Trade Fair is a key initiative to support the AfCFTA, and summarised the key initiatives, interventions and programmes that Afreximbank has implemented to facilitate trade and investment. In her remarks at the event, she also stated: “Today’s roadshow will provide you all, especially the business community, with critical information on the IATF, its relevance to Africa’s transformation and integration ambitions; and to support implementation of the AfCFTA. It should serve as a rallying call for full participation of the UAE business community at the IATF2023 in Cairo. I’m hoping that the opportunity will be seized.”

The AfCFTA promises to revolutionise trade, reshape markets across the region and boost output in the manufacturing and services sectors. It will fundamentally transform Africa’s economic structure and reduce Africa’s reliance on the export of raw materials. The AfCFTA will also break down artificial borders and remove impediments to easier trade – including market fragmentation, lacking economies of scale, reliance on the export of primary commodities, under-developed regional value chains, as well as tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade.

Mr. Khalid Al Ali, Regional Director-Africa, Dubai Chambers, spoke about how Africa is vital to humanity’s future and how essential it is to work together to bring the best out of everyone. He also spoke about offices that the Dubai Chamber has in Africa and said: “We’re all here to support each other, and to do what I call the business of partnership. We are not here to invest; we are there for partnership. Our commitment to the (African) continent is very, very clear”.

Mr. Walid Hareb Al Falahi, Chief Executive Officer-UAE Trade Centre, spoke about the opportunities in Africa and how the UAE Trade Centre acts as a facilitator for UAE companies seeking to do business in Africa. He said: “Africa is a very good place to start a business. It has really great potential for people interested in investing in infrastructure and looking at opportunities. As your Trade Centre, we are a private initiative; and what we aim for is to help your company penetrate Africa.”

Delegates also participated in a vibrant question and answer session, in which actionable insights were gleaned from the high-level panellists. Topics raised included the IATF’s significance for sub-Saharan Africa and broadening access to financing; how the IATF will help promote integration of the fast-growing sub-regions; and how IATF as an advocate of business-to-business across various sectors will attract global participation.

The roadshow also featured the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the TRADAR Club between Afreximbank’s Trade Intelligence Solutions and the UAE Trade Centre by Ms. Lizanne Case, Senior Manager-Trade Intelligence Solutions, Afreximbank, and Mr. Walid Hareb Al Falahi, Chief Executive Officer-UAE Trade Centre.

In her closing remarks, Gwen Mwaba, Director & Global Head-Trade Finance, Afreximbank, thanked all speakers, panellists, delegates and online attendees, and said that the bank’s senior executives are looking forward to welcoming everyone to the Intra-African Trade Fair in Cairo in November.

The IATF2023 United Arab Emirates High-Level Business Roadshow brought together captains of industry, the business community, high-level government officials, the diplomatic community and executives and senior officials of Afreximbank, the African Union Commission and AfCFTA secretariat to discuss how the IATF can play a pivotal role in boosting and promoting trade and investment links and opportunities under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) between the United Arab Emirates and African continent.

The IATF2023 roadshow in Dubai empowered the United Arab Emirates private sector with information about opportunities and benefits of participating in the IATF2023, and its role in supporting African integration and the AfCFTA’s success. IATF2023 is Africa’s premier trade and investment fair, and is being held from 9 to 15 November in Cairo. As Africa’s largest trade and investment fair, the event is not to be missed by importers and exporters looking to take advantage of a single market of 1.4 billion people created by the AfCFTA, with a combined Gross Domestic Product of over US$3.5trillion.

The resoundingly successful inaugural trade fair held in Cairo, Egypt, in 2018 was followed by an even more successful IATF2021 hosted in Durban. Collectively, the Trade Fair’s two editions brought together more than 2,500 exhibitors from 77 countries and generated over US$74billion in trade and investment deals, demonstrating the immense potential that exists for intra-African trade. Building on this success, the third edition (IATF2023) being held in Cairo, Egypt, in November 2023 will again provide an opportunity for exhibitors to showcase their goods and services, engage in Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Government (B2G) exchanges, and conclude business deals which will ensure that the momentum toward greater intra-African trade is sustained.

Leave a Reply