Intra-African Trade Fair now slated for Dec

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The second Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2021) has now been scheduled for December 2021. The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), African Union (AU) and government of Rwanda have decided to shift the date of the continental trade fair, which was previously scheduled to be held from 6 to 12 September 2021 – to allow for a broader roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines across the continent and ensure that the event is held under the most optimal health conditions.

The decision was made at the extraordinary meeting of the IATF2021 Advisory Council held virtually on 18 March 2021. The new date will enable organisers to take stock of all the latest safety precautions, allow for wider roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines, and to put in place effective COVID-19 safety and prevention protocols.

Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, IATF2021 Advisory Council Chairman and former President of Nigeria, said that the new date will also give countries and businesses more time to prepare for IATF2021.

“Our intent is that all participants garner the full benefits of the abundant networking, trade and investment opportunities that will arise at IATF2021. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a lot of enthusiasm for the event.

The extra time given to preparatory activities and effective roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines will allow IATF2021 to be held under favourable conditions, giving more confidence to participating governments, exhibitors, buyers, conference delegates and other visitors,” said Chief Obasanjo. “IATF2021 will bring together continental and global players to showcase and exhibit their goods and services, and explore business and investment opportunities enabled by the single market created by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) to accelerate Africa’s integration and industrialisation agenda,” he added.

Organised by Afreximbank in collaboration with the African Union and hosted by the government of Rwanda, IATF2021 will play a crucial role in assisting and enabling businesses and corporates across Africa to share trade and market information and conclude business deals that are critical in supporting implementation of the AfCFTA.

The biennial Intra-African Trade Fair’s (IATF) second edition will take place in Kigali from 8 to 14 December 2021. IATF2021 will provide a platform that allows trade under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.

It will serve as a marketplace that brings together continental and global buyers and sellers. It will 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. In addition to establishing a business-to-business and business-to-government exchange platform for business deals and advisory services, IATF2021 will also operate IATF2021 Virtual – an interactive online platform accessible to all.

It will also focus on Africa’s creative economy as well as the automotive industry with dedicated programmes. A conference will run alongside the exhibition and feature high-profile speakers and panellists, addressing topical issues relating to trade, trade finance, payments, trade facilitation, trade-enabling infrastructure, trade standards, industrialisation, regional value chains and investment.

ACA projects cashew production to increase in Africa

The African Cashew Alliance (ACA) is projecting an increase in cashew production in Africa in 2021 despite the effects of the pandemic on the global cashew industry. Africa is projected to exceed the over 2.1 million total raw cashew nuts (RCNs) it produced in 2020 and will remain the greatest producer of the commodity in 2021.

The ACA says the positive trend of production growth over the past years in West Africa is expected to continue with production estimated to be between 1.6million and 1.8 million tons of RCN by the end of the 2021 cashew season.

Cote d’ Ivoire is expected to remain the leading cashew producing country in African and the world at large, with an estimated production of 900,000 tons, close to 100,000 more than it produced last year.

“Productions in Nigeria and Ghana are expected to be around the same levels as last year without significant increase or reduction. In Nigeria, production is expected to be between 210,000 and 250,000 tons of RCN. The ACA however emphasizes that this will be influenced by the level of cashew prices since the quantity of RCN collected in the country is often determined by where prices are. Ghana’s production is projected to be between 110,000 and 130, 000 tons of raw cashew, around the same levels as in 2020 and in 2019,” it said in a press statement signed by Ernest Minta, ACA Managing Director.

The ACA, however, expects significant growth in cashew production in Ghana and for the country to have a fair share of the cashew market in the coming years due to concerted efforts by the government and stakeholders in recent years towards reorganizing and regulating the cashew sector including the establishment of the Tree Crops Development Authority (TCDA) and the Cashew Council Ghana (CCG).

In East Africa, the ACA projects a lower production than expected growth in 2021, especially in the two leading cashew producing countries in the sub-region, Tanzania, and Mozambique, due to changes in weather, the cyclone, and the impact of security emergency in the sub-region.

The statement pointed out that production in Tanzania could fall to as low as 225,000 tons by the end of the year, while total global production is expected to be between 3.5millon and 3.8million tons and expected to meet the increasing global demand for cashew, especially in Europe and America.

Africa will produce 54 percent of global production with 21 percent coming from India. Vietnam and Cambodia are projected to produce 17 percent, Brazil producing 4 percent and the remaining 4 percent to be produced by other small cashew producing areas.

Demand and consumption

The ACA expects the positive trend of increasing demand and consumption of cashew kernel since 2011 to continue and remain strong in 2021, especially in Europe and America. The United States, the largest import market for cashew in the world, ended 2020 with an incredible cashew import growth of 8 percent, the highest in ten years, and is expected to remain positive in 2021 regardless of the pandemic. The European cashew market also had an incredible growth of 17 percent in demand, import, and consumption of cashew in 2020, following from a 15 percent growth in 2019. Cashew Consumption increased from a little more than 140,000 tons in 2019 to over 160,000 tons at the end of 2020. Despite remaining second to the US market, the European market has grown from 75 percent in 2015 to 98 percent of the size of the US market in 2020.

The ACA expects the demand and consumption of cashew in Europe to remain strong in 2021. In India, though demand and consumption in 2019 stayed around 300,000 tons, with a slight decrease in 2020 due to market destructions including the pandemic, demand was not badly affected as was feared at the beginning of the pandemic. The ACA expects the Indian market to recover in 2021. There has also been a strong positive development in demand and consumption of cashew in China and this is expected to continue in 2021. In general, the ACA expects global demand and consumption of cashew to continue to be strong in 2021.

 Processing and Supply

Vietnam ended 2020 as the world’s greatest supplier of cashew kernel, increasing processing by about 11 percent. The ACA projects processing and export to continue strongly in Vietnam. In Africa, the ACA anticipates more investment into the cashew processing sector as an attempt to shorten the cashew supply chain by processing closer to the origin. It expects factories to adopt improved and mechanized systems to enable them to process at improved capacities. The ACA, therefore, expects more processing in Africa, especially in Cote d’ Ivoire, Nigeria, and Benin. 

Afreximbank & NEXIM to provide project preparation facilities to support Nigeria’s export

African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and Nigeria Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a Joint Project Preparation Fund that will provide early project preparation financing and technical support services to public and private sector entities operating in Nigeria’s trade sector.

Under the terms of the MoU signed on 20th February 2021, Afreximbank and NEXIM will collaborate through the Joint Project Preparation Fund to unlock investments into sectors such as export manufacturing, agro-processing, solid minerals development and beneficiation services, as well as healthcare, Information and Communications Technology, and creative industries.

The Joint Project Preparation Fund will support public and private sector investors by providing technical and financial support services that will result in a steady pipeline of well-structured, bankable projects that Afreximbank, NEXIM and other financial institutions can readily finance.

The Fund will assist the early development process of projects from concept stage to bankability by covering the preparation of feasibility studies, project development and advisory services and related costs.

Afreximbank and NEXIM aim to mobilize up to US$50 million in the form of project prepation funds for investments in Nigeria.

Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank, said: “The execution of this Memorandum of Understanding marks yet another significant milestone in our collaboration with NEXIM. I am particularly pleased that Afreximbank and NEXIM are boldly venturing upstream to help investors develop well-structured projects that meet market standards.

This intervention is timely as the Fund will play a catalytic role in accelerating the diversification of the Nigerian economy by ensuring a steady flow of bankable projects in priority tradable sectors in a timely manner.

In addition to enhancing bankability, the Fund will, on a case-by-case basis, undertake feasibility studies to assess the viability of accessing markets in the sub-region, thereby promoting intra-African trade under the AfCFTA.

We are pleased to be replicating a similar initiative we pioneered in Malawi in partnership with Malawi Export Development Fund (EDF) and look forward to more opportunities across the continent.”

Mr. Abubakar Abba Bello, Managing Director of NEXIM, said: “We are quite pleased by this opportunity to, once again, partner with Afreximbank in proffering a solution to one of the major challenges that have limited the flow of credit to the Nigerian export sector.

The Fund is designed to mitigate the project selection challenges, particularly amongst the SMEs, towards boosting their contribution to formal exports. This technical expertise will therefore enhance NEXIM’s implementation of its export development programme, especially with regards to the State Export Development and industrialization initiatives.

This partnership strongly aligns with the NEXIM’s mandate and strategic plan and will no doubt facilitate its intervention towards attracting critical investments in trade enabling infrastructure and the promotion of value-added exports.”

The Joint Project Preparation Fund constitutes a direct response to complement Nigeria’s initiatives to address the twin challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and existing economic difficulties associated with the country’s dependence on crude oil revenues, which account for 50% of consolidated government revenues, 30% of banking sector credit and 90% of export earnings.

The partnership aligns with Afreximbank’s broader mandate to develop, facilitate and accelerate intra-African trade.

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