More than R560 billion in trade deals secured at Intra-African Trade Fair
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DURBAN - THE Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) saw more than R560 billion in trade deals secured in just seven days.
Speaking at the closing ceremony on Sunday, managing director Kanayo Awani said that the week-long conference had exceeded expectations.
“The conference has shown the successes of the Cairo trade fair served as a model for what was to come at the next conference. With this in mind, I would like to report that as of midday, there are R560 billion in trading deals that have been closed off, excluding those that are still being negotiated,” said Awani.
The fair attracted more than 11 000 people.
Wamkele Mene, African Continental Free Trade Area secretary-general, said the fair was primarily meant to promote multi-national African trade through the dismantling of the colonial economic model.
“We have to do away with the colonial trading systems, which is the over-reliance on export of primary commodities and isolated economic gains. Primarily, we must industrialise our continent to make sure that we have trade specialisation, so that we export to one another value-added goods – not apples for apples but value-added goods, which means we have to improve our productive and manufacturing capacity.”
Mene said the deals agreed upon had brought about an opportunity through the African Continental Free Trade Area to reduce and eliminate barriers that have hindered intra-African trade.
Premier Sihle Zikalala said: “The provincial government helped small, medium and micro-sized enterprises to exhibit, which ensured that 150 young entrepreneurs from KwaZulu-Natal were selected as delegates in the fair. This experience helped some of the entrepreneurs to create links with their counterparts from all over Africa.
“Hosting the fair served as a boost to the tourism sector with hotel occupancy reported to be at 70%. In terms of the overall economic impact of the event, the estimated total direct spend is R235 million while the contribution to the Gross Domestic Product is R580 million,” said Zikalala.
The next trade fair will be in 2023.