The African Import and Export Bank (Afreximbank) on Sunday announced that the seven-day, 2021 Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF), which commenced in Durban, South Africa on November 15, 2021, has come to an end with deals or transactions worth $36 billion concluded.
Kanayo Awani, managing director of IATF at Afreximbank who disclosed this at the closing ceremony in Durban, South Africa, said the target set for the 2021 IATF was met in excess.
She said a total of 11,828 attendees was recorded physically as against the earlier target of about 10,000 attendees, adding that attendees from four countries, including South Africa, Egypt, Côte d’Ivoire, and Nigeria, doubled this year compared with 2018.
Awani noted that 46 African countries were represented in the exhibition stands. In all we had 59 countries that participated, 46 from Africa, and the rest were from outside of Africa. In all we take into consideration, delegates, exhibitors, visitors, buyers, debt speakers. There were participants in IATF 2021 activities from 128 countries.
In terms of non-hall exhibitors she said the fair had a target of 1100 but with much advertising she happily announced that it exceeded that.
There were a record 1,161 exhibitors and this cut across the various verticals in exhibiting companies, the main arena, the creative exhibitors, so the exhibiting companies were 833.
Further breakdown showed that the CANEX – creative exhibitors were 46, youth exhibitors were 47, auto exhibitors were 19 and virtual exhibitors 216.
“As you all know the IATF virtual as we call it was going on in parallel, so this was a highbred programme. And the statistics also show that for the IATF virtual, we had over almost 27,000 registrations. So we also made a strong effort to publicise the programme in digital media. In this regard, various aspects of the programme were live streamed.
“These were the trade and investment programme, full-day live streaming, the start-up programmes and automotive forums were livestreamed. There were side events outside of this arena that we could not livestreamed. We also had a lot of media coverage, Live TV coverage and as well as a thousand pieces of daily coverage across the continents in Arabic, in English, French and Portuguese,” she said.
According to her, the trade fair is not an end to itself but a platform to develop business to grow intra African trade as well as an opportunity to do business beyond here.
“I want to highlight that as of now we had about $36 billion in deals concluded at IATF 2021. IATF also attracted 70 sponsors, about 51 had exhibition stands,” she said, adding that deals are still going on.
Awani also announced that the registration for the 2023 IATF which will take place in Côte d’Ivoire is now open.
In his closing remarks, Olusegun Obasanjo, chairman of the IATF advisory council, and former president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, said through the impactful exhibitions, the IATF 2021 conference, the trade and investment forum, the CANEX programme, the automotive programme, the country days and the African Union (AU) youth programme, the IATF 2021 delivered on its objective.
He said participants were able to take advantage of the unrivalled business collaboration networking opportunities to make lasting connections that are already beginning to bear fruit.
“When I look at what we have accomplished this last the word that comes to my mind is. It is impressive that we had such an excellent turnout despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. It is impressive that we had such a display of African ingenuity and readiness to collaborate. And of course it is very impressive that so many deals and transactions were closed during these last seven days,” Obasanjo said.
The programme ended with a press conference addressed by Benedict Oramah (Professor) president, and chairman of the board of director, Afreximbank, Obasanjo, Sihle Zikalala, Premier, KwaZulu-Natal, Albert Muchanga, commissioner for Economic Development, Trade, Industry and Mining, African Union Commission (AUC) and Wamkele Mene, secretary-General, African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat (AfCFTA).