Uganda Export Promotions Board (UEPB) and African Export-Import Bank (AFREXIMBANK) have started a campaign that will see African countries increasing trade among themselves, in what they termed as Intra-African Trade.
Analysis by the African Export-Import Bank shows that one of the main reasons why intra-African trade is low at around 15% compared to Europe (59%), Asia (51%), and North America (37%) is because of lack of access to trade and market information.
“To address this challenge, Afreimbank, decided to, among other initiatives, convene the intra-African trade fair every two years to provide trade and market information and connect buyers and sellers from across the continent,” said Amr Kamel, the Executive Vice President, Business Development and Corporate Banking, Afreximbank.
Kamel said the Intra-African Trade fair, where the first of its kind is going to be held from 11th -17 December this year at the Egypt International Exhibition Center in Cairo, Egypt, will provide a platform for sharing trade, investment and market information and enabling buyers and sellers , investors and countries to meet, discuss and conclude business deals.
“It will provide an opportunity for exhibitors to showcase their goods and services, engage in Business to Business (B2B) exchanges and conclude business deals,” said Kamel.
The Intra-African Trade fair will as well provide a platform for entry into a single market of over one billion people joined together under the African Continental Free Trade Area.
Kamel added that the Egypt Fair will bring together continental and global players to showcase and exhibit their goods and services, and to explore business and investment opportunities in Africa.
“Countries will share trade, investment and market information with stakeholders including investors, SMEs, the informal sector, Africans in the Diaspora, and to identify solutions to address challenges affecting intra-African trade.
“It will help organizations like Afreximbank and other financial institutions, to share information about their trade finance and trade facilitation interventions that will support intra-African trade,” noted Kamel.
Dr Robert Ochola the Afreximbank Director and Global Head, Strategy and Innovation said very few countries contribute to Intra African trade. South Africa tops the list at 25% or $32 billion worth of trade followed by Namibia (5.9% or $7.6b), Nigeria (5.5% or $7.1b) and Zambia (5.4% or $6.7b).
“We expect around 70,000 visitors to attend and trade deals worth $25b to be struck,” said Ochola at the Speke Resort Munyonyo during an Intra-African Engagement Session.
Elly Twineyo Kamugisha, the Executive Director of Uganda Export Promotions Board said they target to move Africa Intra trade from 15% to 24% by 2022. An enhancement from $170b to $250b in trade deals, which is in line with the African Union trade target.
Ochola said Intra-Africa Trade can be made easier by resolving challenges to cross-border trade, roll out a local currency cross-border payment platform, expand financing towards the development of industrial parks and special economic zones and rolling out an international standard testing and certification centre.
BY PAUL TENTENA