Kenyan firms eye share of $43 billion trade deals at continental fair


Afreximbank President and Chairman Prof Benedict Oramah, Egypt’s Minister of Trade Ahmed Samir, IATB Executive Vice President Kanayo Awani and Egypt’s Deputy Trade Minister Yahya Bellah pose for a photo during the forum. [Courtesy]

Numerous Kenyan companies are expected to compete for fresh trade and investment agreements worth billions of shillings at the biggest trade exhibition on the continent, which commenced in Egypt this week.

The third session of the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) is organised by the Pan African trade bank the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat.

Kenya is poised to gain significantly from trade and investment agreements valued at Sh37 billion during the previous IATF editions, say Kenyan officials and the Afreximbank.

Speaking at the trade forum former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, said that intra-African trade holds the key to unlocking Africa’s true potential and fuelling economic growth, fostering industrialisation and creating job opportunities for the people of the continent.

Mr Obasanjo, who is also the Chairman of the IATF 2023 Advisory Council, highlighted its significance as a hub for fostering connections, fostering collaboration, and facilitating the exchange of knowledge.

The event aims to unite entrepreneurs, investors, innovators, and policymakers from various parts of Africa and its Diaspora, enabling them to share ideas, establish partnerships, and discover fresh prospects.

“It is through this spirit of cooperation and collaboration that we will unlock the untapped potential of our continent,” he said, adding that the trade fair signified the commitment of Africa and its diaspora nations to economic integration and to their collective determination to create a prosperous future," he said.

The 3rd Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2023) is expected to attract more than 1,600 exhibitors and more than 35,000 visitors, buyers and conference delegates from all 55 African countries, the Diaspora and the rest of the world; and more than $43 billion in trade and investment deals.

It is taking place from 9 to 15 November 2023 in the Egyptian capital city of Cairo.

The inaugural Intra-African Trade Fair was held in Cairo, Egypt, in 2018.

It was followed by the IATF2021 hosted in Durban, South Africa.

Collectively, the two editions of the Trade Fair brought together more than 2,500 exhibitors from 77 countries and generated over $74 billion in trade and investment deals.

Kenya’s Trade, Investments and Industry Permanent Secretary Alfred K' Ombudo, earlier said the fare is crucial for Kenyan traders as it will provide a unique platform for facilitating trade and investment information exchange in support of increased intra-African trade and investment, especially in the context of implementing the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

IATF brings together continental and global players to showcase and exhibit their goods and services and to explore business and investment opportunities in the continent.

It is expected to provide a platform to share trade, investment and market information with stakeholders and allows participants to discuss and identify solutions to the challenges confronting intra-African trade and investment.

In addition to African participants, the Trade Fair is also open to businesses and investors from non-African countries interested in doing business in Africa and in supporting the continent’s transformation through industrialisation and export development.

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