Deals worth US$36 billion were recorded as of 21 November 2021 at the second Intra Africa Trade Fair (IATF 2021). IATF 2021 took place from 15 to 21 November in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
Presenting the preliminary report of the IATF 2021, Mrs. Kanayo Awani, managing director of Afreximbank’s Intra African Trade Initiative, reported on Sunday at the closing ceremony in Durban that 11,828 people attended the event physically, while over 27,000 did so virtually via the IATF platform, which streamed the event live and offered other features that replicated the physical trade fair, bringing the total number of participants to about 39,000.
Participants at IATF 2021 came from 128 countries around the world.
Mrs Awani also announced that against a target of 1,100 exhibitors as set out in the key performance indicators unveiled in 2019 on the background of the lessons learnt from the first IATF in Cairo, Egypt in 2018, IATF 2021 saw 1,161 exhibitors including 838 companies from 59 countries of which 46 came from Africa, showcase their goods and services, in what was recognized as a massively successful event.
While explaining that business deals were still going on and that some of the deals already closed were still being compiled, Mrs. Awani disclosed that the deals concluded as of 21 November 2021 amounted to US$36 billion, exceeding the US$32 billion mark set at IATF 2018.
Zimbabwe had its fair share of deals although actual figures are yet to be disclosed.
ZimTrade chief executive officer Allan Majuru expressed satisfaction with the overall trade fair and said exhibitors had managed to establish strong leads for future business engagements.
“Despite the business that has been generated in terms of exports, one key thing that has come out is the distributorship networks that the companies have managed to achieve. Some have managed to set up distributorship in Cape Town, in Durban and even Johannesburg for them to move their goods.
“That is sustainable because we are not always present here in Durban but we need to keep the business moving,” said Mr Majuru.
His comments come as Zimbabwean firms, including the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) signed deals worth over US$188 million at IATF.
The funds to ZETDC are expected to improve revenue collection through smart meters and prepaid meters and thus pay off regional creditors’ accounts.
Meanwhile, former Nigerian president Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, chairman of the IATF Advisory Council, described the fair as a movement towards an economically reliable Africa.
Chief Obasanjo complimented Prof Benedict Oramah, president and chairman of the board of directors of Afreximbank, Mrs Kanayo Awani and all those who played a role in the success of the event, which was rescheduled to Durban, after Kigali, the initial host, was curtailed in its preparations due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Durban had only four months to prepare for the event, whose opening ceremony was graced with the presence of seven Heads of State and Government, including President Mnangagwa, President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, President Lazarus Chakwere of Malawi, President Hakainde Hichilema of Zambia, Hon. Hussein Mwinyi of Zanzibar and the Rwandan Prime Minister, Hon Edouard Ngirente, all whose presence Chief Obasanjo described as “proof of commitment to the IATF at the highest level.”
Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire will host the third IATF in 2023.