The third Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2023) got underway on Thursday, in Cairo, Egypt.
Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria and Chairman of the IATF2023 Advisory Council, said that intra-African trade holds the key to unlocking Africa’s true potential and fueling economic growth, fostering industrialisation and creating job opportunities for the people of the continent.
Addressing participants and guests at the trade fair, Obasanjo noted that beyond being just an exhibition of goods and services, IATF2023 is a platform for networking, collaboration and knowledge sharing, and was bringing together entrepreneurs, investors, innovators, and policymakers from across Africa and its diaspora to exchange ideas, forge partnerships and explore new opportunities.
“It is through this spirit of cooperation and collaboration that we will unlock the untapped potential of our continent,” he said, adding that the trade fair signified the commitment of Africa and its diaspora nations to economic integration and to their collective determination of creating a prosperous future.
The former Nigerian head of state called on African government leaders, policy makers, and representatives to foster an environment conducive to trade by eliminating unnecessary bureaucracy, harmonizing regulations and investing in necessary infrastructure.
IATF2023 was a steppingstone towards a future where African nations traded freely, breaking down barriers and opening doors of opportunities for all, Obasanjo told delegates.
He urged entrepreneurs and innovators to seize the moment to build bridges of commerce between nations and within communities by embracing the spirit of entrepreneurship and leveraging technology to unlock new markets, connect small-scale farmers with global partners and empower women-owned businesses.
Earlier, Ahmed Samir Saleh, Minister of Trade and industry of Egypt, had welcomed guests to the trade fair and expressed Egypt’s enthusiasm at hosting the event.
The ceremony also featured the projection of a hologram of Kwame Nkrumah, the former President of Ghana who was a key proponent of a united Africa.