Organisers of the Intra-African Trade Fair 2021 explain the benefits of participating in the event during a roadshow in Kenya

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Kenya hosted a Country Roadshow to raise awareness about the substantial benefits of attending the second Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2021). Organised by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) in collaboration with the African Union (AU) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, IATF2021 will take place in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa from 15 to 21 November 2021.

Hon. Betty Maina, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and Enterprise, Kenya said: “The South-South Co-operation created opportunities for our people, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will lead to great things going forward. Inward-looking policies hindered trade, the East African Community and COMESA harnessed opportunities.”

In her keynote address, Ms Kanayo Awani, Managing Director of Afreximbank’s Intra-African Trade Initiative said: “Our expectation at Afreximbank is a continent where the 110 borders that divide the 55 atomistic States have been significantly reduced by digital technologies Afreximbank is championing alongside the AU and AfCFTA; a continent where a trader first looks across the border for market opportunities and not to far away lands; an Africa where differences in language, currencies and resource endowments become enablers and not disablers of trade and economic transformation: a continental free trade agreement that is thriving not on the basis of donor grants but on the platform of African financial institutions; and an Africa that finally begins to earn the respect of others in the global markets.”

Hon. Ravi Pillay, MEC for Economic Development, Tourism & Environmental Affairs said: “Economic transformation is about local production, trade on equal terms. The vision of the African Union must remain alive and the AfCTA is a critical step forward. The success of this event will be achieved through partnerships and working together, marking a significant milestone towards the Africa we want, a collective effort, hard work and dedication. KZN is open for business, and we are ready to host the most successful IATF 2021 event on behalf of the country, region and continent.”

Dr. Charles Tumbo, Kenya Export Promotion and Brand Agency, in his opening speech said that there was a need for government and the private sector to support the creative sector as a venture that will bring in huge revenues for them.

Mr. Manuel Moses, Chief Executive Officer, Africa Trade Insurance Agency said: “Every nation needs investment, the IATF is an opportunity Kenya needs to export its goods and services. Intra-Africa trade is at 16% whereas in Asia it’s at 60%. There is a huge infrastructure gap and also non-tariff barriers. Economists will tell you that one of the things that makes trade difficult is insurance. ATI was formed to reassure investors in the face of political risk and work with them behind the scenes.”

The IATF2021 roadshow in Nairobi featured a panel discussion under the theme ‘Assessing Kenyan Private Sector readiness for African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Implementation’ with the participation of Dr. Charles Tumbo, Kenya Export Promotion and Brand Agency; Mr. Kudakwashe Matereke, Regional Chief Operating Officer (East Africa), Afreximbank; Dr. Erick Rutto, Chamber Deputy President, Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Ms. Roslyn Ng’eno, Senior Investments Expert, AfCFTA Secretariat; Mr. Victor Ogalo, Head of Public Private Dialogue and Policy Research Analysis, Kenya Private Sector Alliance; Mr. Patrick Kanyimbo, Principal Regional Integration Officer, African Development Bank.

Mr. Kudakwashe Matereke, Afreximbank Regional Chief Operating Officer in East Africa, said: “We work with commercial banks and national development banks to provide facilities so that we can reach SMEs. We recognise that not everyone has the capacity or expertise to trade in their own right, so we deal with aggregators such as Export Trading Companies to export for SMEs.”

Closing Remarks at the Roadshow were made by the South African High Commissioner to Kenya, H.E. Mr. M. J. Mahlangu, who said: “The AfCFTA is playing a leading role in kickstarting the African continental economy … South Africa is totally committed to the ideas and goals of the AfCFTA.”

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