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Cote d’Ivoire to host IATF 2023

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Chuks Udo Okonta

Cote d’Ivoire has been announced as the host for the third edition of the Intra-African Trade Fair in 2023.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Chairman of the IATF Advisory Council while announcing the success of the West African Country’s bid, thanked His Excellency President Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire for putting up a spirited bid, in the spirit of opening trade and investment opportunities within Africa and beyond for Africa today and in the future.

South Africa had to come in at the last minute and take over hosting from Kigali Rwanda for the second edition in 2021, after Covid-19 destabilized the East Africa’s fast rising economy preparations for the same.

The inaugural event was hosted in Cairo, Egypt in 2018, and marked a resumption of the Continent’s journey towards a successful self-sustaining trade and investment initiative – the biggest in the whole world since the formation of the World Trade Organisation.

The Intra-Africa Trade Fair is seen as a vehicle towards the achievement of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) which came into force on January 1, 2021 and brings together a support bedrock of about 1.3billion people with a cumulative GDP of about USD 4trillion.

While addressing the opening ceremony of the IATF2021 at the Durban International Conference Centre on 15th Nov 2021, the President and Chairman of the Board of the African Export-Import Bank Prof. Benedict Oramah said that the concept of a trade fair to spur the growth and development of the AfCFTA could not have come at a better time, given the fruits of the inaugural event in Cairo, Egypt in 2018 which was graced by 1,100 exhibitors and about 7,000 participants from 45 countries.

During that event according to Prof. Oramah, deals worth about 32 billion US dollars were facilitated and to date about 25 billion US dollars of the deals have been implemented, with another 2.5 billion US dollars being processed, a representation of an incredible success rate of 83 per cent.

Other achievements of the Cairo IATF2018 event include the story of a young Nigerian entrepreneur, who participated in the 2018 trade fair, thanks to the Elumelu Foundation, was identified by Singaporean investors at the Trade Fair and now produces drones for agricultural purposes in Singapore.

Another is the deal entered at the event between the Government of South Sudan and El-Sewedy Electric of Egypt which led to the development of a major solar power project in South Sudan.

It was also during the first edition of the Continental Trade Fair, that the largest intra-African EPC contract for a hydroelectric power project worth 2.9 billion U.S. dollars was signed between the Government of Tanzania and two leading Egyptian Engineering firms, namely El-Sewedy Electric and Arab Contractors. The financing was coordinated by Afreximbank and was fully supported by a consortium of African banks. The project aims at generating 2,100 Megawatts of hydroelectric power, representing 42 percent of the Tanzanian goal of generating 5,000 Megawatts by 2025, and create over 6,000 jobs in Egypt and Tanzania.

In Durban, close to 11,000 delegates had already signed in to attend on the first day, with more than 1,100 exhibitors lining their wares and trade and envisaging signing deals worth more than 40Billion US Dollars.

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