IATF reaches out to African Diaspora

October 11, 2021

BUSINESS REPORTER

Organisers of the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2021) say Africans leaving outside the continent can connect to markets and businesses across Africa at this year’s trade fair.

IATF2021 is organised by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) in collaboration with the African Union and the African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat and will run from November 15 to 21 in Durban, South Africa.

At a virtual roadshow this week, Intra-African Trade Initiative MD Kanayo Awani said Afreximbank’s “long-held view is that a diaspora programme must be a two-way street, not so much about what they can do for us but equally importantly, what we can do for them”.

“While the African Diaspora has grown and become a significant source of development finance and skilled human capital, we must, nonetheless, create systems and build institutions that connect in a sustainable manner the Diaspora to the continent of Africa and IATF 2021 offers one such platform,” Awani said.

Hlengiwe Mavimbela, Member of Executive Council for Arts & Culture: KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa described IATF as “one of the key events to boosting trade in Africa”.

“This conference will create a platform for professionals across the continent to come under one roof, deliberate and propose solutions on issues affecting Africa,” Mavimbela said.

“As a country, we still face difficult challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment, especially for youth. It is encouraging to see that the trade fair will also create a youth start-up programme, which will have a dedicated pavilion targeting youth to showcase goods and services. This will also assist in providing entrepreneurship training and opportunities while creating network opportunities.”

Organisers say IATF2021 provides a platform to promote trade under the AfCFTA and will bring together continental and global buyers and sellers, and 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 the economic integration of the continent.

IATF2021 eyes US$40bn in trade and investment deals, 5000 conference participants and 10000 visitors and buyers.

The inaugural IATF in 2018 realised US$32bn in trade deal, had 2500 conference participants and over 1000 exhibitors. Zimbabwe’s companies are expected to participate at IATF2021.

 

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