About $27 billion deals were signed at the weekend during the ongoing first Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) in Cairo, Egypt.
The figures recorded so far in the IATF Deals Processing Centre far exceeded the initial target of $25 billion.
Organized by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), in partnership with the African Union Commission (AUC), and hosted by the government of Egypt, the IATF is being attended by over 1000 exhibitors, who are showcasing their goods and services to an estimated 70,000 visitors at the Egypt International Exhibition Centre.
Afreximbank President Prof Benedict Oramah said the bank was happy with the volume of transactions. “We are proud to witness this indication of what the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement can yield for intra-continental trade.
“By bringing together buyers and sellers under one roof, in the first Intra-African Trade Fair of its nature on the continent, Afreximbank is succeeding in facilitating the transformation and integration of African economies,” he said.
The second day of the fair featured conference engagements aimed at improving the environment for enhancing Intra-African and Southsouth Trade Financing; making Intra-African trade work for Business–views from practitioners; and the creative Africa Exchange (CAX) Summit.
The CAX Summit is a flagship event launched at the fair with the purpose of serving as a vehicle for Africa to grow its knowledge and capacity for intra-continental trade within the creative and cultural industry.
In an address, Prof Oramah questioned the lack of African global participation in the arts and why Africa has continued to play on the periphery, saying: “Africa is art and Africa created art.”
He highlighted the artistic achievements of Africans over the centuries and encouraged IATF participants to be active in the transformation of the creative industry as part of a holistic approach to transforming all industries in Africa.
The event opened with a performance by Nigerian singer WAJE, and featured special guests from the creative industry, such as D’Banj, an IATF 2018 Ambassador and award-winning musician and CEO of GOOD Music; Rita Dominic, who is also an IATF 2018 Ambassador, award-winning actress and producer; The Audrey Silva Company; a Publisher and CEO of Okay Africa, Abiola Oke, and award-winning actress Mumbi Maina.
Speaking on the importance of the creative industry, D’Banj likened creative content to crude oil that needed to be refined before it could be exported and made profitable. He encouraged the financial sector to support Africa’s creative economy.
Ms. Dominic highlighted the potential of the creative economy as a source of job creation for the youth.
The ambassadors were later honored at an IATF 2018 Ambassador’s Dinner, where Afeximbank’s Intra-African Trade Initiative Managing Director Kanayo Awani expressed gratitude for their contribution in garnering support and sponsorship for the continental trade fiesta.