Kudzanai Sharara in Cairo Egypt
The 2023 Intra-Africa Trade (IATF2023) that was held here, has been described by the organisers as a resounding success with set targets being exceeded.
The third Intra-African Trade Fair had a target to receive 35 000 visitors, 1 500 exhibitors and 75 countries.
Deals worth US$43 billion were expected to be sealed.
Most of these targets were, however, exceeded with 1 615 exhibitors participating, a figure higher than the expected 1 500.
A total 118 out of the expected 75 countries participated at the trade fair in various forms according to Dr Gainmore Zanamwe, Acting Director Trade Facilitations, Afreximbank.
“This is the score card and from our perspective the score card is looking good,” said Dr Zanamwe.
Deals signed will, however, be announced at a later date as figures were still being collated.
Zimbabwe also participated with ZimTrade chief executive officer, Allan Majuru, expressing satisfaction with the overall fair.
Majuru highlighted deals signed by CABS, US$40 million and Exodus and Company $141 as some of the notable successes.
The major highlight was probably the US$2 billion framework agreement for the Export Agriculture for Food Security (ExAFS) Initiative with ARISE Integrated Industrial Platforms (ARISE IIP) and the governments of Chad, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Egypt.
Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Dr Anxious Masuka, signed on behalf of Zimbabwe.
Majuru said the deal will allow the country to increase its food exports with wheat being one of the targeted crop.
“Most importantly our Minister of Agriculture (Dr Masuka) was one of the ministers that signed the US$2 billion facility to grow wheat for export which is quite good. So now the next thing is to go on the ground and identify the farmers who are going to benefit from this facility.”
Majuru said when it comes to firms that were exhibiting at the Zimbabwe pavilion, there were a number of objectives to be met.
He said while the target was to achieve deals worth US$20 million, with information yet to be collated, other objectives were met.
“I think for us there are a number of objectives, number one to strike deals, number two to make leads that will become deals in the future, number three its also a learning curve for our existing exporters,” Majuru said.
He said Zimtrade had brought participants from the Eagle’s Nest and the Next She Exporter programmes and Egypt with a strong leather and textile sector will help them learn a lot.
Majuru said following the Egypt-Zimbabwe Business Forum, there are now plans to bring in Egyptian counterparts to Zimbabwe.
He said the leather sector and horticulture sector have brighter prospects.
Rukunda Pride founder Paula Mazvita, whose products were commended for being of higher quality confessed that the fair had opened her eyes that she can do even better.
“I gained so much exposure. I think the first quarter I am going to focus on product development because this fair for me made me realise that for us to be competitive, in the export market, we definitely develop our product so that when we get in these markets we are competitive and we are offering a bigger value proposition.
“I feel like this is an opportunity for me to be different from other local players and producers of local products, said Mazvita.
Her sentiments were shared by her Moreda founder Dareen Binha.
“As Moreda we have managed to learn to explore and connect with other stakeholders.
He said through interactions, he had managed to get valuable insights that will help in product development.
“This was a very good event and fruitful for us, exposure wise.”
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, the IATF is intended to provide a unique platform for facilitating trade and investment information exchange in support of increased intra-African trade and investment, especially in the context of implementing the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
IATF brings together continental and global players to showcase and exhibit their goods and services and to explore business and investment opportunities in the continent.
It also provides a platform to share trade, investment and market information with stakeholders and allows participants to discuss and identify solutions to the challenges confronting intra-African trade and investment.
In addition to African participants, the Trade Fair is also open to businesses and investors from non-African countries interested in doing business in Africa and in supporting the continent’s transformation through industrialisation and export development.