Afreximbank tasks Nigeria on IATF 2021 participation
The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has charged the Nigerian government to mobilise its public and private sectors to harness economic opportunities in the forthcoming intra-African Trade Fair (IATF).
Dr George Elombi, Executive Vice President, Corporate Governance and Legal Services, Afreximbank, gave the charge at the occasion of the Nigeria Roadshow on Monday in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the roadshow is in preparation for the second IATF, scheduled to hold in Durban, South Africa, between November 15 and 21, 2021.
The IATF was conceived by the board and management of Afreximbank, in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC), to promote trade and investment within the continent.
Elombi said the IATF is expected to generate more than US$40 billion in trade and investment deals, an opportunity beneficial to the Nigerian economy. He revealed that the IATF would also attract over 1,000 exhibitors, about 10,000 visitors, buyers and conference participants from all 55 African countries, and the world.
“To date, there are about 600 signed up exhibitors out of a target of about 1,100 exhibitors.
“This constitutes 55 per cent overall uptake of IATF 2021 exhibition space.
“The number of signed up Nigerian exhibitors is still low and we call on the business community and the public sector to take up exhibition spaces to ensure that Nigeria is fully represented at IATF 2021,” he said.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, said that the IATF fell squarely within the country’s market access goal of taking deliberate steps to take Nigerian products and services to Africa.
Adebayo, represented by Mr Olusegun Awolowo, President, Nigerian Export Promotion Council, NEPC, said this was achievable via leveraging innovative logistics solutions, creating strong product brands and matchmaking Nigerian businesses with their African counterparts.
He revealed that the NEPC, as part of its mandate to coordinate Nigeria’s participation at the fair, is collaborating with relevant strategic partner agencies to ensure significant participation.
These, he said, include securing space, design and construction of the Nigerian pavilion for exhibitors’ participation.
He furthered that the council had opened up discussions with three different Nigerian airlines namely, Air Peace, Arik Air and lbom Air, for the airlifting of participants and product samples to and from South Africa to ensure national visibility.
“NEPC has also activated an online platform for selection of exhibitors to ensure that the right products and services are selected for the fair.
“Our Nigerian manufacturers, traders and suppliers should go the trade fair and explore new sources of supplies within Africa to re-direct their supply chains.
“Our state governments are encouraged to attend to explore opportunities with other sub-nationals in terms of exchange of ideas, trade, investment, and market information.
“Most importantly, the best of our entrepreneurs in the creative economy, including film, music, fashion, and arts/crafts, should be present to showcase what Nigeria has to offer,” he said.
Mrs Kanayo Awani, Managing Director, Intra-African Trade Initiative, Afreximbank, revealed that the available funding facility of the bank is to the tune of US$20 billion, but lamented that the fund is currently under utilised.
She reiterated the bank’s commitment to expanding value chains, providing policy advocacies and exposure to international markets for the African business communities.
Awani added that the bank is working on the harmonisation of standards (08:20) in the area of automotive sector, pharmaceutical/medical resources among others.
“It is more expensive to lose out on the opportunities of the trade fair as it serves as a good start up programme for the youths who will be exposed to market opportunities,” she said.