Benedict Oramah, Afreximbank’s boss

BY EMEKA EJERE

The Managing Director, Intra-African Trade Initiative, Afreximbank, Mrs. Kanayo Awani, has urged Nigerian business owners to be encouraged to attend the forthcoming Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2021) in Durban by focusing on the opportunities and the benefits it offers.

Kanayo, who spoke on the sideline of Nigeria Roadshow preparatory to the event in Lagos, argued that it does not make any business sense to be discouraged by the perceived cost implication of participating in the trade fair as the cost of not attending will be huge.

The trade fair is one of the initiatives that the Intra-African Trade is working on.

Organised by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), in collaboration with the African Union and AfCFTA Secretariat, the 2nd Intra- African Trade Fair (IATF 2021), will be hosted by the Government of the Republic of South Africa in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, from 15 to 21 November 2021.

The first edition was held in Cairo, Egypt in 2018.

The trade fair, Kanayo said, is not an end in itself but a means to an end.

She said: “You’re not just coming there. You’re supposed to come there and exchange ideas, exchange information – trade and market information. It is an opportunity to connect buyers and sellers, investors to the investment opportunities.

“In fact, in the times of recession, you should be heading for a trade fair to be able to stimulate your businesses.

We think that even in a post-COVID era, the trade fair will stimulates Africa’s economic development in a sense, given the events of the past two years.

“You did hear in one of the presentations made by the Secretary General of the AfCFTA, who said that while in most parts of the world, people are doling out bailout, money as stimulus package, our own stimulus package in Africa is the AfCFTA. AfCFTA is about growing the traffic in trade; it’s about industrialization. And this is one of the platforms that we need to grow the traffic in trade.

“Remember, it’s not just people exhibiting their goods, we’re also supporting their hosting buyers. What that means is that you can’t be an exhibitor and a sale of goods. We will be able to match-make you to potential buyers. That’s why we also talk about the B to Bs and the B to Gs, so you can make business connections.

Sharing some success stories of the trade fair, she said:

“The $32 billion deals that we announced we closed in 2018 were the deals of buyers and sellers making these deals. I saw a Nigerian custard maker who has contract now in Kenya, in Ivory Coast.

“There is also a Nigerian youth, his name is Ndubuisi Eze, he’s one of the success stories of that trade fair. He was involved in the area of Robotics. Soon after the trade fair he was acquired by the Singapore Government and he’s now doing drones for agriculture in Singapore.

“So the platform is an opportunity. I think Nigerians should take advantage of it, because the cost of not attending will be huge.”