Olusegun Obasanjo, former president of Nigeria, says the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) will foster Africa’s 2063 agenda to transform the continent into a global powerhouse.
Obasanjo said this on Monday while speaking at the second edition of IATF, held at Durban in South Africa.
The event is hosted by the South African government in collaboration with the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) — with focus on the newly-launched African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The former president, who is also the chairman of the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) advisory council, said the event was an all-important instrument in achieving free trade inter-connectedness among countries in Africa.
He also said the trade fair was an opportunity to glamourise the African trade market to attract stakeholders for business investments.
“The IATF is the largest and go-to trade and investment firm of the African continent,” Obasanjo said.
“The trade fair is also one of the key initiatives in support of the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
“The African Continental Free Trade Area provides an opportunity for the continent to achieve economic emancipation and self-reliance.”
According to Obasanjo, the trade fair is part of efforts to realign the continent to its economic goals after battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
He added that the IATF will help enhance border-to-border trade relationships in Africa and correct the continent’s past mistakes in that regard.
“The Intra-African Trade Fair is an important component in righting the wrongs of the past and breaking down borders,” Obasanjo added.
“It is aimed at building bridges to help us achieve the ambitions of agenda 2063, the Africa we want in the context of post-COVID-19, the Africa continental free trade area, and probably even more important role as the framework for African economic recovery.
“I agree that implementing the Africa Continental Free Trade Area is the bell stimulus for building forward better post-pandemic economies.
“It is with this in mind that the theme for the Intra-African trade fair for 2021 is ‘Building Bridges for a Successful Africa Continental Free Trade Area’.”
Article republished from The Cable