IATF2023 roadshow highlights investment avenues for UAE firms - GulfToday

IATF2023 roadshow highlights investment avenues for UAE firms


A memento was presented to Mrs Kanayo Awani after the press conference in Dubai on Thursday.

Sajjad Ahmad, Deputy Business Editor

The UAE is one of the main trade partners of Africa and the economic relations between the two sides have shown remarkable growth in the recent past. The African market of 1.4 billion people with a combined gross domestic product of over $3.5 trillion, offers huge investment opportunities to the UAE companies in various economic fields, this was revealed during the IATF 2023 roadshow in Dubai.

The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC), and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, on Thursday hosted the official business roadshow in Dubai, ahead of the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF 2023) to be held from 9th to 15th of November 2023 in Cairo, Egypt.

Humaid Mohamed Ben Salem, Secretary General of the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce, and Industry, emphasised how the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry ‘is here to help and to support African companies’ in doing business in and with the UAE.

Mrs Kanayo Awani, Executive Vice President, Intra-African Trade Bank, Afreximbank, spoke about how the Intra-African Trade Fair is a key initiative to support the AfCFTA and summarised the key initiatives, interventions, and programmes that Afreximbank has implemented to facilitate trade and investment. In her remarks at the event, she also stated: “Today’s roadshow will provide you all, especially the business community with critical information on the IATF, its relevance to Africa’s transformation and integration ambitions and to support the implementation of the AfCFTA. It should serve as a rallying call for the full participation of the UAE business community at the IATF2023 in Cairo. I’m hoping that the opportunity will be seized.”

The AfCFTA promises to revolutionise trade, reshape markets across the region and boost output in the manufacturing and services sectors. It will fundamentally transform Africa’s economic structure and reduce Africa’s reliance on the export of raw materials. The AfCFTA will also breakdown the artificial borders and remove impediments to easier trade including market fragmentation, lack of economies of scale, reliance on the export of primary commodities, under-developed regional value chains as well as tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade.

Khalid al Ali, Regional Director, Africa, Dubai Chambers, spoke about how Africa is vital to humanity’s future and how it is essential to work together to bring the best out of everyone. He also spoke about the offices that the Dubai Chamber has in Africa and said: “We’re all here to support each other and to do what I call the business of partnership. We are not there to invest; we are there for partnership. Our commitment to the (African) continent is very, very clear.”

Walid Hareb Al Falahi, Chief Executive Officer, UAE Trade Centre, spoke about the opportunities in Africa and how the UAE Trade Centre acts as a facilitator for UAE companies seeking to do business in Africa. He said ” Africa is a very good place to start a business. It has really great potential for people interested in investing in infrastructure and looking at opportunities. As your Trade Centre, we are a private initiative and what we aim for is to help your company penetrate Africa.”

Delegates also participated in a vibrant question and answer session in which actionable insights were gleaned from the high-level panellists. Topics raised included the significance of the IATF for sub-Saharan Africa and broadening access to financing; how the IATF will help to promote the integration of the fast-growing sub regions; and how IATF as an advocate of business-to-business across various sectors will attract global participation.

The roadshow also featured the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the TRADAR Club between Afreximbank’s Trade Intelligence Solutions and the UAE Trade Centre by Ms. Lizanne Case, Senior Manager of Trade Intelligence Solutions, Afreximbank, and Walid Hareb Al Falahi, Chief Executive Officer, UAE Trade Centre.

In her Closing Remarks, Gwen Mwaba, Director & Global Head, Trade Finance, Afreximbank, thanked all speakers, panellists, delegates, and online attendees and said that the Bank’s senior executives are looking forward to welcoming everyone to the Intra-African Trade Fair in Cairo in November.

The IATF2023 United Arab Emirates High-Level Business Roadshow brought together captains of industry, the business community, high-level government officials, the diplomatic community, and executives and senior officials of Afreximbank, the African Union Commission and the AfCFTA Secretariat to discuss how the IATF can play a pivotal role in boosting and promoting trade and investment links and opportunities under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) between the United Arab Emirates and the African continent.

The IATF2023 roadshow in Dubai empowered the United Arab Emirates private sector with information about opportunities and benefits of participating in the IATF2023, and its role in supporting African integration and the success of the AfCFTA.  As Africa’s largest trade and investment fair, the event is not to be missed for importers and exporters looking to take advantage of a single market of 1.4 billion people created by the AfCFTA with a combined Gross Domestic Product of over $3.5 trillion.

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