IATF 2023 gets under way this week

by Editorial Team
4 minutes read

The third edition of the continental exhibition, the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF), swings into life tomorrow at the Egypt International Exhibition Centre (EIEC) in Cairo, Egypt. The event is set to run from tomorrow until 15 November.

Speaking during the media launch of the event two weeks ago, Egypt Expo & Convention Authority Chairperson, Mai Assal indicated that the trade fair provided a unique opportunity for the promotion of trade in Africa.

“IATF 2023, scheduled to take place from November 9th to November 15th, 2023, at the Egypt International Exhibition Center (EIEC) in Cairo, under the theme “Connecting African Markets,” is a momentous occasion. IATF 2023 stands as the only pan-African B2C and B2B cross-sector trade fair, providing an unparalleled opportunity for African buyers and sellers to convene, explore business prospects, and attract investors and trade organisations from across the continent,”  said Assal.

The continental event is expected to feature a line-up of international exhibitors, workshops, and panel discussions to enable exhibitors and visitors to acquire valuable insights into emerging markets, trade policies, and industry trends that have the potential to revolutionise their businesses.

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Apart from the face-to-face aspect of the show, the IATF virtual booth offers an auditorium to host virtual events – live and pre-recorded, as well as country pavilions and a virtual library where documents, presentations and other information can be sourced and stored.

Some of the highlights of the event include the Creative Africa Summit and a dedicated Creative Industry Exhibition. The Creative Africa Nexus (CANEX) is set to welcome a diverse array of visitors, including speakers, stakeholders, and guests from creative hubs all across Africa.

The other highlight of the trade fair is the panel discussion on the intersection of the global push for transition and the importance of energy security in Africa. They will explore how this scenario can be viewed as both an opportunity and a threat for the continent. Additionally, the discussion will focus on how Africa can leverage its abundant resources to improve energy accessibility and propel industrial growth.

The Presidential Summit Day and Egypt Country Day is another highlight that visitors and exhibitors are expected to look forward to.  The event is set to be graced by the presence of distinguished Heads of State, both past and present leaders as leaders come together to discuss the critical role of trade and investment in forging connections across African markets.

The third IATF is expected to attract more than 1 600 exhibitors, over 35 000 visitors, buyers and conference delegates from all 55 African countries, the diaspora and the rest of the world and in excess of US$43 billion in trade and investment deals.

Organised by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, IATF is meant to provide a unique platform to facilitate trade and investment information exchange in support of increased intra-African trade and investment, especially in the context of the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) in January 2021.

Egypt is hosting the trade fair for the second time after Côte d’Ivoire, which was scheduled to host the event from 21 to 27 November 2023 indicated that it was no longer in a position to host the trade fair due to difficulties faced in importing semi-permanent structures and in complying with certain hosting requirements. The northern African country hosted the inaugural edition of the event in 2018.

This was not the first time that the hosting of the event was moved from one host country to another. The second edition of the event was set to be held in Rwanda in 2020. In-person events were barred by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as part of the Covid 19 safety protocols. Rwanda ended up surrendering the right to host the event citing Covid 19-related logistical challenges. The event was eventually hosted by South Africa in November 2021.

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