In September 2020, Rwanda will play host to the second Intra-African Trade Fair; the first of its kind in the country. The event which will take place from September 1 to 7, 2019 in Kigali is expected to execute deals worth over $40 billion. This was made known by Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) during the signing of the hosting agreement for IATF2020 by the Government of Rwanda, Afreximbank and the African Union.
The signing ceremony took place at the Transform Africa Summit and was witnessed by Soraya Hakuziyaremye, Minister of Trade and Industry of Rwanda, Prof. Oramah for Afreximbank and Amb. Albert Muchanga, Commissioner for Trade and Industry of the African Union.
IATF2020, which is expected to attract more than 1,000 exhibitors and hosting over 10,000 buyers and conference participants from over 50 countries, will build on the tremendous progress made in the first Intra-African Trade Fair held in Cairo in 2018.
According to Oramah, IAATF2020 would include an IATF Trade and Investment Forum which will look at the practical challenges affecting AfCFTA implementation and provide solutions on how to address them and exploit the benefits offered by the agreement.
More than 40 African countries signed the landmark trade agreement in March 2018. The deal commits countries to remove tariffs on 90 percent of goods, as well as allow free access to commodities, goods, and services across the continent. If successfully implemented, the agreement would create a single African market with more than one billion consumers and a GDP of more than $3 trillion.
Conspicuously missing from the list of 22 countries that have ratified the agreement is Nigeria, which analysts say is pussyfooting because it has failed to position itself to benefit from the deal.
Afreximbank will showcase some practical solutions, including the Pan-African Payments and Settlement System, which will be launched at the AU Extra-Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government in Niamey in July 2019, he said. That system will facilitate trade settlement in local currencies, providing a vital boost to intra-regional trade.
The African Union is also establishing an African Trade Observatory, which will gather trade-related information from African countries and be a resource for anybody who wants to trade with the continent, Amb. Muchanga announced.
IATF2018 attracted more than 1,000 exhibitors from 45 countries and across 20 sectors, generating in excess of $32 billion in deals in various areas which include energy, construction, financial service, trade and Small and Medium Enterprises. IATF2020 will provide a platform for businesses to share trade, investment and market information and for buyers and sellers, investors and countries to conclude business deals.