By Mathew Dadiya
African Export and Import Bank (Afreximbank) has said it Is time for Africa to take her destiny in her own hands and to determine her own developmental agenda with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Traders in Africa, however, need to seek out new market opportunities rather than the conventional route of turning to markets abroad as doing so will not be easy.
The Executive Vice President, Intra-African Trade Bank, Afreximbank, Mrs. Kanayo Awani, in her opening remarks while addressing delegates at the High-Level Business Roadshow in Algiers, Algeria said “it will require commitment, courage, and deliberate action.”
Mrs Awani congratulated Algeria for becoming a Member State of Afreximbank in June 2022. She stated that the African Continental Free Trade Area “promises to revolutionise trade, reshape markets across the region, boost output in the manufacturing and service sectors, and fundamentally transform Africa’s economic structure.”
The Executive Vice President lauded the opportunities that it will provide to Algeria’s businesses.
The broad range of Afreximbank programmes and initiatives that can facilitate Algeria’s intra-African trade, such as the Africa Collaborative Transit Guarantee Scheme, which will mean for example that goods going from Algiers, Algeria to Lagos, Nigeria, will not need “a Customs Bond on every border as is the case today,” she explained.
She also discussed the Bank’s programmes that support trade-enabling infrastructure especially those that address mobility and connectivity (road, rail, air, maritime, ports and logistics).
Speaking about the Intra-African Trade Fair, she said that it was created “to deal with the challenges of lack of access to trade and market information” and she praised the Algerian Government for deciding to hold a Country Day at IATF2023 in Cairo, saying that “it gives me confidence that Algeria is poised to lead the charge for African trade.”
The High-Level IATF Roadshow in Algiers also featured an impactful panel session themed: ‘Seizing opportunities under the AfCFTA: Empowering Manufacturers, Exporters, Investors, and relevant industry players’ that provided a platform for insightful discussions on a range of trade-related issues.
In his closing remarks, Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt in Algeria, Mokhtar Gamil Tawfik Warida, informed Roadshow delegates that “Egypt is ready to welcome Algerian businesses and companies to participate in the Intra-African Trade Fair, conference, and exhibition from 9 – 15 November 2023.
Egypt and Algeria have strong potential, they have strong will and the capacity to be leaders of economic cooperation in Africa and to bring to fruition the pan-Africa Free Trade Area.”
H.E. Mr. Youcef Cherfa, Minister of Transport, represented the Minister of Trade and Export Promotion, Algeria, at the Roadshow, while H.E. Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General, AfCFTA Secretariat, was represented by Hamadou Karidio, Head of AfCFTA Liaison Office, AfCFTA Secretariat.
The informative Roadshow provided persuasive reasons for the Algerian business community to fully engage with the transformational opportunities created by the AfCFTA and to attend the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2023) which is being held from 9 to 15 November 2023 in Cairo, Egypt.
The Algerian private sector has compelling opportunities to target a significant share of the forecast US$43 billion of trade and investment deals expected to be concluded at IATF2023 by joining the 1,600+ exhibitors and the 35,000+ buyers, visitors and conference delegates.