Durban [South Africa] : Addressing delegates at the Intra-African Trade Fair hosted in Durban, South Africa, the President of the Republic, Cyril Ramaphosa, said the event was more about building bridges, with its sole purpose being to bring governments closer together.
Ramaphosa said the African Continental Free Trade Agreement was bringing together all countries in the region under one banner. He said the idea behind partnerships such as IAFTF and the ACFTA was to advance trade. “Our mission as Africans is to advance trade in our continent. Goods, products and services exhibited at this event represent all the African countries. Its success rests on its participants. The ACFTA must try to connect all the regions and deepen economic integration. This trade fair is about building bridges. It’s about connecting countries. It brings together governments, investors, buyers and manufacturers from more than 55 African countries,” Ramaphosa told the trade fair.
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the COVID-19 pandemic has taught the continent valuable lessons. He said it was imperative for Africa to unite and foster trade among itself.
“This has had an adverse impact on health, food, water security as well as socio-economic problems in the respective countries. This African trade fair provides good packaged utilities across the continent. It stimulates industrial investment and economic reciprocation. This allows Africans to showcase their vast investment utilities as national states, investors and participants let us use this,” Mnangagwa said.
Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema said the Intra-African Trade Fair would lift many Africans out of poverty. He told participants that Zambia was fully committed to the trade fair.
“Your excellencies, there is enormous potential in trade investment amongst us Africans. Our countries are endowed with rich resources which can be used to create sustainable value chains. The African narrative must move from poverty, instability to investment, trade and indeed stability. We can focus our limited resources towards trade and investment and offer opportunities to our people, especially young people,” Hichilema said.
This year’s Intra-African Trade Fair is premised under the theme “Building Bridges for a Successful African Continental Free Trade Agreement”. It has brought together more than 54 African states under one roof seeing investors, business persons, and exhibitors to the trade fair. South Africa became the preferred destination after Rwanda said it would not be able to host it due to COVID-19 curbs.