africa

Durban to host 2021 Intra-African Trade Fair in November


KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala (right) welcomes Nigeria’s former president Olusegun Obasanjo to the ICC in Durban on Thursday.


KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala (right) welcomes Nigeria’s former president Olusegun Obasanjo to the ICC in Durban on Thursday.

The KwaZulu-Natal province is ready to host the 2021 Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2021) — an event which is set to inject hundreds of millions of rand to the gross domestic product (GDP), boost the tourism sector and create over 1 000 jobs.

The event to be hosted in Durban from November 15 to 21 is expected to attract direct spend of R235 million, contribute an estimated R600 million to the GDP and create a total of 1 200 jobs.

“We look forward to welcoming the companies, exhibitors and country representatives to KZN.”

KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala.

This was revealed by Premier Sihle Zikalala on Thursday following the signing of an agreement for the hosting of the IATF2021.

The signing ceremony was held at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban. “This is a welcome shot-in-the-arm for KwaZulu-Natal as we embark on resetting and growing our economy under the Economic Reconstruction and Transformation Plan.

“In its first edition held in Cairo in December 2018, the event attracted over 1 000 exhibitors from 45 countries.

“This resulted in over $32 billion worth of trade and investment deals closed at the event,” said Zikalala. He added that at the end January 2021, an amount of about $27 billion had been implemented or was under implementation.

“We look forward to welcoming the companies, exhibitors and country representatives to KZN,” Zikalala said.

The signing ceremony was attended by among others, the former president of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in his capacity as chairperson of the advisory council of the IATF and the president of AfreximBank, Professor Bennedict Oramah.

Obasanjo said this year’s IATF would build on the successes of the 2018 IATF.

At this year’s event deals worth an estimated $40 billion are expected to be signed.

Obasanjo added that lack of information was one of the main inhibitors to trade, with traders not knowing what each country was producing and what each country needs. “The trade fair is one of the practical ways of bridging the information gap,” he said.

Speaking at the ceremony, Oramah said the Intra-African Trade Fair was key in reverse engineering the “colonial strategy” that had held Africa down for decades.

“The colonial strategy divided us, the trade fair is about breaking down borders and building bridges.”

eThekwini Municipality’s Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda echoed the sentiments shared by Zikalala, saying Durban was ready to deliver a memorable Intra-African Trade Fair event.

“We are excited about this opportunity because it has a potential to boost our tourism industry which has been adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We also have no doubt that this event will contribute significantly to the city’s revenue and create much-needed jobs, particularly in the hospitality sector, which lost over R4 billion during the hard lockdown,” said Kaunda.



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