The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, yesterday, hosted the official business roadshow in Dubai, the UAE, ahead of the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF 2023) to be held from 9th to 15th of November 2023 in Cairo, Egypt.
Secretary General of the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce, and Industry, Humaid Mohamed Ben Salem, emphasised how the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry, “is here to help and to support African companies” in doing business in and with the UAE.
On her part, the Executive Vice President, Intra-African Trade Bank, Afreximbank, Mrs. Kanayo Awani, spoke about how the IATF remains a key initiative to support the AfCFTA and summarised the key initiatives, interventions, and programmes that Afreximbank has implemented to facilitate trade and investment.
In her remarks at the event, she also stated: “Today’s roadshow will provide you all, especially the business community with critical information on the IATF, its relevance to Africa’s transformation and integration ambitions and to support the implementation of the AfCFTA.
“It should serve as a rallying call for the full participation of the UAE business community at the IATF2023 in Cairo. I’m hoping that the opportunity will be seized.”
The AfCFTA promises to revolutionise trade, reshape markets across the region and boost output in the manufacturing and services sectors.
It is expected to fundamentally transform Africa’s economic structure and reduce Africa’s reliance on the export of raw materials.
The AfCFTA would also breakdown the artificial borders and remove impediments to easier trade including market fragmentation, lack of economies of scale, reliance on the export of primary commodities, under-developed regional value chains as well as tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade.
The Regional Director, Africa, Dubai International Chamber, Mr. Khalid al Ali, spoke about how Africa was vital to humanity’s future and how it was essential to work together to bring the best out of everyone.
He also spoke about the offices that the Dubai Chamber has in Africa, saying: “We’re all here to support each other and to do what I call the business of partnership. We are not there to invest; we are there for partnership. Our commitment to the (African) continent is very, very clear.”
Mr. Walid Hareb Al Falahi, Chief Executive Officer, UAE Trade Centre, spoke about the opportunities in Africa and how the UAE Trade Centre acts as a facilitator for UAE companies seeking to do business in Africa.
He said, “Africa is a very good place to start a business. It has really great potential for people interested in investing in infrastructure and looking at opportunities.
“As your Trade Centre, we are a private initiative and what we aim for is to help your company penetrate Africa.”
Delegates also participated in a vibrant question and answer session in which actionable insights were gleaned from the high-level panellists.
Topics raised included the significance of the IATF for sub-Saharan Africa and broadening access to financing; how the IATF will help to promote the integration of the fast-growing sub regions; and how IATF as an advocate of business-to-business across various sectors will attract global participation.
The roadshow also featured the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the TRADAR Club between Afreximbank’s Trade Intelligence Solutions and the UAE Trade Centre by Ms. Lizanne Case, Senior Manager of Trade Intelligence Solutions, Afreximbank, and Mr. Walid Hareb Al Falahi, Chief Executive Officer, UAE Trade Centre.