Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa has been named as the new host of the intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2021). It is scheduled to take place from 15-21 November 2021. It will be the second edition. The Trade Fair was previously due to be held in Kigali, Rwanda from 8 to 14 December 2021.
The decision to move the Trade Fair to Durban was made by the Advisory Council of IATF2021 at its 10th meeting held virtually on 25 May 2021. This decision was arrived at after formal consultations with the Government of Rwanda, who indicated that logistical constraints related to the COVID-19 pandemic had adversely affected the progress of construction of a new facility to host the event.
Organised by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) in collaboration with the African Union (AU) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, the second Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2021) will take place in Durban from 15 to 21 November 2021.
IATF2021 provides a platform to promote trade under the AfCFTA. It will bring together continental and global buyers and sellers, and will enable stakeholders to share trade, investment, and market information as well as trade finance and trade facilitation solutions designed to support intra-African trade and the economic integration of the continent.
In addition to establishing business-to-business and business-to-government exchange platforms for business deals and advisory services, IATF2021 also operates IATF2021 Virtual, an interactive online platform that replicates the physical event. IATF2021 will focus on Africa’s creative economy as well as the automotive industry with dedicated programmes.
A conference will run alongside the exhibition and will feature high-profile speakers and panelists addressing topical issues relating to trade, trade finance, payments, trade facilitation, trade-enabling infrastructure, trade standards, industrialisation, regional value chains and investment.
Commenting on the decision, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, IATF2021 Advisory Council Chairman and former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, commended the Government of Rwanda, Afreximbank, the AU, the AfCFTA Secretariat and all IATF stakeholders for showing great resilience in adapting to the uncertain environment arising from the COVID-19 pandemic situation.
“We have once again been able to shoulder the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is affecting all sectors worldwide and forcing Governments, corporates and individuals to take unprecedented measures to ensure public safety and keep economies running,” said Chief Obasanjo.
“Relocating IATF2021 to Durban saves us time on the calendar and will enable African countries and corporates, as part of their recovery strategy, to take full advantage of the Trade Fair, which is also an important component of the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement under which trading commenced this year.
“Having undertaken a comprehensive assessment of the measures that are being taken by the AU and Afreximbank under the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) as well as other initiatives to procure vaccines for the continent, we believe that a significant number of people would have been vaccinated by November and this will allow us to have a successful event. We will continue working with the Government of South Africa to ensure that all the COVID-19 measures are complied with during the Trade Fair as the safety of both residents and visitors is paramount.
“We congratulate the Government of the Republic of South Africa and KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government and thank them for the swift efforts that are being made to ensure that IATF2021 safely accommodates the growing number of participating governments, exhibitors, buyers, conference delegates, and visitors that have confirmed their participation in the event,” added Chief Obasanjo.
Welcoming the conference, Premier of KwaZulu-Natal Sihle Zikalala said: “As KwaZulu-Natal, we are honoured to host this important gathering of the world as we implement our own Economic Reconstruction, Recovery and Transformation Plan. Our approach is to carefully balance the protection of lives against promoting and sustaining livelihoods.
“Based on plans announced by our President Cyril Ramaphosa on rolling out the COVID-19 vaccination programme in South Africa, we will be ready in November to host our brothers and sisters in Durban for this Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2021),” said Premier Zikalala.
“We look forward to welcoming the delegates to the Trade Fair. This gathering is one of the most significant strategic interventions to remind us of our interconnectedness, and of the urgent need to promote intra-Africa trade to reignite economic opportunities and create much-needed jobs for all our people. In this regard we applaud the IATF2021 Advisory Council under the leadership of former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo for this bold decision as we soldier forward to a better Africa for all,” added Premier Zikalala.
To register as a delegate or as an exhibitor for IATF2021 please visit: www.intrafricantradefair.com