Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly inaugurated Egypt’s first Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) on Tuesday held in Cairo.
“Welcome to this important event, the first of its kind in the African continent. On behalf of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, I would like to thank you all for your participation in this exhibition,” Madbouly said.
This fair comes following an important milestone event in the African joint work, which is the Africa 2018 Forum, hosted by Egypt in Sharm El-Sheikh. It also coincides with the 7th African Ministers of Trade Meeting (AMOT) that will take place on 12-13 December.
Madbouly pointed out that the IATF is an important step in the process of supporting economic integration among African countries, and it sends a message to the whole world that Africa is ready and welcomes cooperation at all levels and fields.
He noted that the world is currently paying considerable attention to Africa as a destination for business, especially after most of the continent’s countries have been able to make significant progress in modernising their infrastructure and legislation.
“The number of participants in this fair is the utmost proof of our urgent need for integration, as it exceeded 1,000 exhibitors from over 35 countries,” he stated.
The Egyptian prime minister expressed his hope that this fair can contribute to fulfilling the aspirations of African people.
The African Union (AU) Commissioner for the Department of Trade and Industry, Albert M Muchanga, said that the IATF is a biannual fair held regularly in an African country, stressing that they are moving closer towards activating the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
“The AU considers all the agreements which can enable us to achieve progress in Africa,” Muchanga added.
He called on all member countries to sign the AfCFTA, urging different African trade ministers to cooperate towards achieving what Africans want.
The IATF is scheduled to last until 17 December, with the participation of 1,055 African companies, as well as 34 countries.
Additionally, Egyptian Minister of Trade and Industry, Amr Nassar, said that the fair is a strategic opportunity to promote and develop means of intra-African commerce in order to increase trade exchange, to transfer information and experiences related to trade, investment, and local markets with decision-makers, as well as to discuss and identify solutions to the challenges facing the continent in this regard.
Nassar pointed out that Egypt is forging strong efforts to strengthen trade relations and achieve economic integration among all African countries, by supporting multilateral agreements including the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).
He noted that the African Continental Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) is a major step towards regional integration, which is expected to increase trade opportunities among African countries by 52% close to 2022.