Af­ter ini­tial bluff, Nige­ria off with largest del­e­ga­tion to AfCFTA In­tra-African trade fair in Egypt

Business a.m. - - NEWS - Ben Egu­zozie in Port Har­court

AF­TER AN INI­TIAL BLUFF not to ac­cent to the now trend­ing African Con­ti­nen­tal Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Nige­ria is at­tend­ing with the largest del­e­ga­tion to the first AfCFTA In­traAfrican Trade Fair (IATF) in Cairo, Egypt, busi­ness a.m. can re­port. We re­li­ably gath­ered that Nige­ria is at­tend­ing the pan-con­ti­nen­tal trade fair with a chat­tered flight of over 140-man del­e­ga­tion led by Okechukwu Enelama, min­is­ter of in­dus­try, trade and in­vest­ment.

Ap­par­ently con­sumed by the knack of flood­ing in­ter­na­tional events with usu­ally un­wieldy large del­e­ga­tion, with the coun­try’s par­tic­i­pa­tion of­ten end­ing up as jam­boree, this IATF is com­ing off no less out­side the un­en­vi­able tra­di­tion.

Till date, the coun­try is yet to ac­cent to mem­ber­ship of the AfCFTA, which al­ready has 44 African coun­tries out of the con­ti­nent’s 55 mem­ber­na­tions.

In March this year, 44 of 55 mem­bers states of the African Union (AU) gath­ered in Ki­gali, Rwanda and signed the Con­ti­nen­tal Free Trade Area (AfCFTA, a con­ti­nen­twide free-trade agree­ment, with Nige­ria re­fus­ing to ap­pend its mem­ber­ship.

Next week, the AfCFTA coun­tries are tak­ing the first big step with an In­tra-African Trade Fair (IATF) in which 41 coun­tries have al­ready reg­is­tered to par­tic­i­pate.

The Africa Ex­port-Im­port Bank (Afrex­im­bank), the con­ti­nent’s mul­ti­lat­eral fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion de­voted to fi­nanc­ing and pro­mot­ing in­traand ex­tra-African trade and key pro­moter of AfCFTA, is or­ga­niz­ing the trade fair from 11 to 17 De­cem­ber, 2018 at the pres­ti­gious Egypt In­ter­na­tional Ex­hi­bi­tion Cen­tre in Cairo, the cap­i­tal.

A state­ment by Obi Emekek­wue, di­rec­tor and global head, com­mu­ni­ca­tions and events man­age­ment at Afrex­im­bank, said ex­hibitor reg­is­tra­tions for the in­au­gu­ral IATF 2018 has reached 1,054, sur­pass­ing the pan-African mul­ti­lat­eral fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion’s set tar­get of 1,000.

The trade fair is be­ing orDIAMOND ga­nized by Afrex­im­bank in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the African Union Com­mis­sion and hosted by Egypt.

In­for­ma­tion re­leased by Afrex­im­bank also showed that the reg­is­tered ex­hibitors come from 41 coun­tries, and rep­re­sent di­verse sec­tors and in­dus­tries, in­clud­ing agriculture, au­to­mo­tive, in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nol­ogy, con­struc­tion, lo­gis­tics, health­care, phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, cloth­ing and tex­tiles, en­ergy and power and en­ter­tain­ment.

More than 70,000 visitors are ex­pected at the IATF 2018, which will pro­vide ex­hibitors a plat­form to show­case their goods and ser­vices to buy­ers and sell­ers and of­fer op­por­tu­ni­ties for busi­nessto-busi­ness ex­changes.

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