Kanayo Awani, managing director of Intra-African Trade Initiative at Afreximbank, speaking during a media briefing in Cairo after the launch of the continental trade fair to be held in December in the same city. PHOTO: Siphelele Dludla/ANA

CAIRO - Afreximbank, the prime Export-Import African bank, has said that the intra-Africa trade fair set to be held in Egypt later in December will be an opportunity for the continent to industrialise. 

Kanayo Awani, managing director of Intra-African trade initiative at Afreximbank, said that one of the aims of the trade fair is to deal with failing industrial and manufacturing growth in the African continent in a bid to boost trade, jobs and economic growth. 

"The reality is that the Intra-African trade programme is an opportunity for Africa to industrialise. So industrialisation is a big part of the programme, reason being that African countries all produce commodities in their primary form," Awani said. 

"But can we sell primary commodities to ourselves? The answer is no. For Intra-African Trade to work, we'll have to industrialise." 

Awani was speaking in Cairo, Egypt, during a media briefing to officially launch the first-ever biannual event aimed at encouraging trade among African countries and support the implementation of the Africa Continental Free-Trade Area (AfCFTA) which was signed by 44 countries in Kigali, Rwanda, in March. 

Awani said the event is expected to bring together more than 1,000 exhibitors and around U.S.$25 billion in trade deals, saying that they have already secured close to 100 exhibitors so far. 

According to Afreximbank, intra-African trade has increased in recent years to 15 percent of total trade from 11 percent in 2008, but overall levels remain lower than those recorded by other developing regions before the global financial crisis.

- African News Agency