Increase intra African trade – Panel

Abidjan, Sept 18, (AIP) – Côte d’Ivoire can
significantly increase the benefits of trade with other African countries and
transform the West African region by expanding its supply of raw materials and
industrial goods to Africa to fuel its burgeoning light manufacturing sector.

This was a recommendation by high-level
experts during a panel discussion.

The panel included former Nigerian President
Olusegun Obasanjo, Jean Louis Ekra, former President of the African
Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), Dr. Vaflahi Meité, Executive Director of the
General Confederation of Enterprises of Côte d’Ivoire (CGECI), and Dr. George
Elombi, Executive Vice President, Governance, Legal Services and Corporate
Services, Afreximbank.

The discussion was organized by Afreximbank as
part of a stakeholder engagement event to promote the Fair Intra-African Trade
(IATF) in Cairo from 11 to 17 December 2018.

The speakers emphasized the need for Côte
d’Ivoire to strengthen its capacity in the processing of edible oils in order
to improve its commercial performance.

Held under the theme “Strategy to deepen
trade between Côte d’Ivoire and Africa”, the round table focused on the
main issues to be resolved to increase trade between Côte d’Ivoire and Africa.

Alain-Richard Donwahi, Minister of Water and
Forests of Côte d’Ivoire, thanked Afreximbank for its work in favor the
expansion of African trade and for the organization of this fair.

The minister announced that Côte d’Ivoire
would take full advantage of the fair to present its commercial opportunities,
investments, tourism and culture.

He requested that the candidacy of Côte
d’Ivoire be considered as host of the second edition of the Intra-African Trade
Fair (IATF).

Ms. Kanayo Awani, Director General of the
Afreximbank Intra-African Trade Initiative, said IATF would support the
emergence of a vibrant private sector that would lead the process of structural
transformation of the African and Ivorian economies.

Félix Anoblé, Secretary of State to the
Minister of Commerce, Industry and SME Promotion of Côte d’Ivoire, speaking on
behalf of the Minister, pledged government support for IATF and stated that the
country had taken the necessary measures to ensure effective participation of
all Ivorian economic operators.

The session brought together 223 participants
from the public and private sectors of French-speaking West African countries.

The Intra-African Trade Fair is organized by
Afreximbank in collaboration with the African Union and hosted by the
Government of Egypt.

It will be held at the Cairo International
Exhibition Centre and would provide a platform for sharing information on
trade, investment and markets.

(AIP/GNA)

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