BY EABW REPORTER
Geneva/Lusaka–The World Export Development Forum 2018, taking place in Lusaka, Zambia, on 11-12 September where business leaders, policymakers and youth from around the world will explore a range of trade-related issues, including agribusiness, investment and the African Continental Free Trade Area.
Themed ‘Scaling Up through Trade’, this year’s annual flagship event of the International Trade Centre (ITC) will be co-hosted by the Government of Zambia through the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry.
The big focus will be on jobs for youth, agribusiness, investment, the African Continental Free Trade Area.
Focusing on youth
The global population is forecast to grow by 2.2 billion people by 2050, and more than half of that growth is expected to be in Africa.
Following the launch of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement earlier this year, the African Union is putting youth at the heart of development, as drivers of growth. Policymakers and the business community are working on a friendlier environment for young people to gain relevant skills, start their own businesses and create quality jobs.
WEDF 2018 will kick off with an African Union and ITC interactive Youth UnConference on the topic of a world without borders, highlighting the perspectives of young entrepreneurs from eight African countries.
There will also be a young entrepreneurs’ pitch competition featuring seven candidates from across the African continent. Among the jurors will be Michael Ocansey, a Ghanaian entrepreneur and co-founder of the agri-tech start-up AgroCenta, who won last year’s WEDF competition and went on to win half a million dollars at the 2018 Seedstars Competition, the world’s biggest pitch competition for emerging markets.
Making business deals
Another WEDF highlight will be the business-to-business meetings in agribusiness – from crops to oilseeds, prepared foods, honey, agricultural machinery and packaging, and more.
The meetings will bring together farmers, manufacturers, exporters, importers, wholesalers, retailers and investors interested in selling, buying or investing in select agricultural products and technologies.
At last year’s event in Budapest, Hungarian firms made deals with companies from a number of countries including Myanmar and Colombia.
Capitalizing on WEDF
Several events will be held at WEDF 2018: A focus on women’s economic empowerment through the Launch of the Zambian chapter of SheTrades and a dedicated ‘in conversation’ with an inspirational woman leader, One-day event on packaging issues in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and IMA, the Italian packaging machinery manufacturer, Online training opportunities with the ITC SME Trade Academy, China-Zambia investment meeting under the Partnership for Investment and Growth in Africa (PIGA) initiative