BY BAMIDELE FAMOOFO
The Egyptian capital city of Cairo has been announced as the new host of the third Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2023) which will now take place from November 9 to 15, 2023.
The IATF2023 Advisory Council said in Cairo that the decision to change the venue and dates of the continental event, originally scheduled for Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, from November 21 to 27, 2023, followed indications received from the government of Côte d’Ivoire that it was no longer in a position to host the trade fair due to difficulties faced in importing semi-permanent structures and in complying with certain hosting requirements.
Olusegun Obasanjo, Chairman of the IATF2023 Advisory Council, which is the governance body of the trade fair, commended the commitment of the Egyptian government for agreeing to step in as the new host.
“We must thank the government of the Arab Republic of Egypt for its responsiveness, flexibility and dedication in, once again, hosting the Intra-African Trade Fair.
“This, undoubtably, demonstrates its commitment to promoting and expanding trade among African countries.
“With Egypt, the biennial IATF was launched in 2018 with flying colours. We, therefore, reassure all IATF2023 stakeholders, including exhibitors, conference delegates, buyers and trade visitors, that we have no doubt that the experience we have gained with Egypt in 2018 and with South Africa during the second edition in Durban in 2021, will make this third edition of Africa’s premier trade and investment platform a success beyond our expectations.
“Host country of the highly successful inaugural IATF in 2018, Egypt offers first-class infrastructure and facilities.
“The IATF2023 organisers, in close collaboration with the Egyptian Ministry of Trade and Industry, are on track to promptly finalise the necessary arrangements and ensure that IATF2023 takes place as planned in excellent conditions,” Obasanjo said.
“Coordination is underway with the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) to host the third edition of the Intra-African Trade Fair, due to be held during 9th – 15th November 2023,” said Ahmed Samir, Minister of Trade and Industry of Egypt.
“We are keen on extending all-out support to convene the fair in a form that suits Egypt’s position in Africa. IATF2023 will provide a unique and valuable platform for businesses to access an integrated African market of over 1.3 billion people with a GDP of over $3.5 trillion created under the African Continental Free Trade Area.
“IATF2023 harkens to the decision of the 2023 Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union which adopted “Acceleration of AfCFTA Implementation” as the African Union Theme of the Year 2023. This underscores the high importance of the IATF as a continental initiative and as the marketplace for the AfCFTA” he said.