Prof. Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), has called on African leaders to reverse “absurdities” in African trade patterns to make way for seamless and positive intra-trading.
Oramah who made the call at the 2021 Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2021) in Durban, South Africa, said that African countries must now begin to build trust amongst each other, open investment opportunities, and foster the emergence of regional value chains.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the IATF2021 is organised Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) in collaboration with the African Union (AU) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat.
The second Intra-African Trade Fair, holding from Nov. 15 to Nov. 21, 2021, brings together continental and global buyers and sellers.
It will enable stakeholders to share trade, investment and market information as well as trade fice and trade facilitation solutions designed to support intra-African trade and the economic integration of the continent.
The event is holding physically and virtually.
Some of the participants at the IATF 2021
Oramah said: “It is the Trade Fair that can help us to begin to reverse some of the absurdities we see today in Africa’s trade patterns.
“Patterns where countries import from outside Africa at a much higher cost the same products a neighbouring African country exports to the world at a lower price.”
He added that reversing these anomalies would require a deliberate effort to connect African buyers and sellers, deepen knowledge of Africans about their continent cost access to trade and investment information.
“Your Excellencies, this is what this event offers to Africa and its partners.
“We are fulfilling a key deliverable under the African Union’s Boosting Intra-Africa-Trade (BIAT) strategy”.
He recalled that the first Intra-Africa Trade fair held in December 2018, attracted 1,100 exhibitors and no fewer than 7,000 participants from 45 countries and facilitated the signature of deals worth about 32 billion U.S. dollars.
“I am pleased to inform you that about 25 billion dollars of the deals have been implemented, with another 2.5 billion dollars being processed, representing an incredible success rate of 83 percent.
“Your Excellences, beyond the numbers, the impact on real people has been humbling,” he revealed.
He said that Africa must prove the naysayers wrong, using the Trade Fair as the starting point, adding that trade agreements have worked in more mature markets because they have institutional mechanisms that support their implementation.
Oramah further revealed that Afreximbank was working with the AfCFTA Secretariat to create an eight billion dollar-AfCFTA Adjustment Facility that would cushion African countries from fiscal revenue losses from the tariff removals associated with the AfCFTA.
It would also help the private sector to retool their operations as they reorient their operations towards the continental market.
also reports that other key partners, including the African Development Bank, AfDB and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) were involved in the organisation of the IATF2021.
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