As most of you know, I just returned from Egypt to London to take part in another historic signing for one of our businesses (what an amazing week!)… As great as it was to announce CDC’s $180m investment into Liquid Telecom a few days ago, the timing meant I sadly had to leave before another historic moment for Africa this week: the first-ever Intra-Africa Trade Fair (#IATF) in Cairo, Egypt from 11-17 December.
Congratulations to Dr Benedict Oramah, President and Chair of the Afrexim Bank, and all the organizers of #IATF2018 including my friend, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo (Chairman of the IATF Advisory Council) and other friends and colleagues at the African Union and Afrexim Bank who had the vision to bring this critical event together, with some 42 countries and 1,100 exhibitors at last count.
You can check out the action and join the #IATF2018 conversation and watch some of the sessions on Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/intrafricantradefair
As President Obasanjo said in his opening remarks:
__“It is our duty to create the environment where the entrepreneurial spirit of Africans can succeed. Stronger economies yield the rewards of better health, education, improved employment opportunities and prosperity for all.”
He went on to say that he wanted Africa’s future generations to have:
# greater expectations
# greater choices and
# greater opportunities to succeed…
In April I told you here about the historic signing of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and that the process of ratification had begun. I mentioned it was the beginning of Africa putting in place the building blocks of what will become the world’s biggest single market within 100 years…
Today the market is already nearly $3Tn and 1,2bn people. It will be over $100Tn by the turn of the century with 4bn+ consumers!
Will someone from the Senior Class please explain the business case for AfCFTA. I will give you a few hints I shared from my last post:
# More and better job opportunities.
# More cross-border trade with less red tape (such as at customs and ports).
# Better food security (through lower barriers to trade across the continent).
# More efficient regional supply chains (promoting investment, growth, and creation of jobs).
# Better prices and a wider variety of goods and services (from economies of scale).
# More independence (from aid and external borrowing), innovation, protection of intellectual property.
Entrepreneurs on this platform… What else do you see? The #IATF organizers will be reading your comments!
Now if you’re able to get to Cairo this weekend, please go, because you can see this is a hugely important event. I think there is still time for you to take part in the strategic discussions and agenda setting, as well as other workshops. Some sessions are also being live-streamed online if you register or go to Facebook link I gave earlier.
The idea of this first-ever event was to create opportunities for participants, including entrepreneurs like you and me to…
# Share trade, investment and market information; (there are several workshops, for example, on how to export).
# Discover trade opportunities…
# Connect with exporters and financiers!
# Conclude business deals… whether you are a buyer, seller, investor or represent a country!
# Showcase goods and services.
# Exchange business to business (B2B) trade and market information. (Good place to do homework!)
# Build networks across nations and business sectors to discuss new structures, including 4IR opportunities, continental supply and value chains… (and much more).
And this is not just about business as usual. It’s also about business unusual…
Tomorrow (Friday) my friend Didier Drogba will be speaking on “From Football Ace to Business Executive: Leveraging the brand equity of African stars.”
I hope I’ll be able to tune in, and that you will, too.
You can check out the programme here: https://iatf.afreximbankevents.com/programme