Nigeria has the most to gain from the growth in intra-African trade, heard the country’s business community on 18 October at a Lagos roadshow for the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2021). The event offered Nigerian audiences a taste of what is to come at the IATF2021, which will take place in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, from 15 to 21 November 2021.
The African continent’s premier trade and investment event, the IATF21 is organised by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), in collaboration with the African Union (AU) and the African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat.
The Lagos preview event showcased a range of topics and opportunities due to be addressed at IATF21, which Nigeria, sub-Saharan Africa’s largest economy and the continent’s most populous country, is poised to capitalise on. During a panel discussion on ‘Unlocking Regional Value Chains Through the Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)’, delegates familiarized themselves with the revolutionary Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS); the advantages of harmonisation of standards in the automotive and pharmaceutical industries; and the potential for boosting the continent’s automobile manufacturing.
In his Keynote Address, Mr. Olusegun Awolowo, Executive Director/CEO, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), said: “The IATF2021 represents one of the key initiatives to realise the objectives of the African Continental Free Trade Area. It offers Nigerian businesses the platform to key into regional value chains to extend into the higher value segments of the industries and to satisfy Rules of Origin requirements for the waivers accruing from the AfCFTA. Nigeria is aiming to increase its export capacity in the near term and its export volumes in the medium term.”
Dr. George Elombi, Executive Vice President, Corporate Governance and Legal Services, Afreximbank, in his opening address commented that IATF2021 will support African integration, enhance African industrialisation and export development, reduce dependence on foreign currencies, and help facilitate AfCFTA’s objectives.
The IATF2021 roadshow in Lagos featured a panel discussion under the theme: ‘Unlocking Regional Value Chains Through the Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)’ with Mrs. Kanayo Awani, Managing Director, Intra-African Trade Initiative, Afreximbank; Mr. Leonard Kange, General Manager – Large Enterprises of Bank Of Industry (BOI); Dr. Chinyere Almona, Director General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture; Engr. Mansur Ahmed, President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria; Chief Diana Chen, Chairman Choice International Group (GAC Motors); Ms. Chioma Ude, Founder and Convener of the Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF); Olivia Onyemaobi, Founder Pad-UP Creations; and Mr. Ken Etete, MD/CEO Century Group Nigeria.