DURBAN - PREMIER Sihle Zikalala will on Thursday lead the signing ceremony for the hosting of the 2021 Intra-African Trade Fair in Durban, a move that will officially open the KwaZulu-Natal Tourism sector.
Zikalala will be joined by former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli ICC for the ceremony.
The ceremony paves the way for the Intra-Africa Trade Fair to resume from November 15-21.
The event is expected to generate more than $40 billion (about R570 billion) in trade and investment deals and it is one of the biggest events to be hosted by the country since the outbreak of Covid-19.
Brett Tungay, the East Coast chairperson of the Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa, said any trade engagement that will attract foreign investment was welcomed.
“We hope that by November the trade will be open enough for the sector to operate on its full capacity, and hopefully get more foreign investments,” Tungay said.
During an interview with the Daily News last month, Zikalala said the Intra-Africa Trade Fair would involve 54 African countries coming together and would fast-track tourism.
Zikalala said: “We have a comprehensive plan. Support through the grant, but growth through the strategy to get more and more tourists coming into the province.”
He said they were looking for other ways to encourage and boost tourism.
“Tourism was contributing 9.6% to the provincial GDP. We were one of those provinces that were performing at a high level.”
He hoped by the end of October, the Covid-19 infection rate would have subsided.
“We will go all out to ensure that we revive and be aggressive in terms of our domestic tourism strategy, focusing on all of the provinces and getting more people to visit KwaZulu-Natal, as we have done before.
“The trade fair will also show that KZN is now open for the economy and for visitors as well.”
Also participating in the signing ceremony will be the president of Afreximbank, Professor Benedict Oramah; the African Union commissioner for economic development, trade, industry and mining, Albert Muchanga; the secretary-general of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Wamkele Mene, KZN MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Ravi Pillay and eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda.