/ MEDIA STATEMENT / This content is not written by Creamer Media, but is a supplied media statement.
South Africa hosted a Roadshow in Johannesburg to raise awareness about the substantial benefits of attending the second Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2021). Organised by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) in collaboration with the African Union (AU) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, IATF2021 will take place in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa from 15 to 21 November 2021.
In her Opening remarks, Mrs. Gwen Mwaba, Director and Global Head, Trade Finance, Afreximbank said: “The AfCFTA promises to revolutionalise trade, reshape markets across the region and boost output in the manufacturing and services sectors. It will fundamentally transform Africa’s economic structure and significantly reduce Africa’s reliance on the export of raw materials. In the context of post COVID-19, the AfCFTA has probably taken on an even more important role as the framework for African economic recovery. Afreximbank see the AfCFTA as the game-changing initiative that Africa so badly needs.”
Ms. Leila Mokaddem, Director General, Southern Africa, African Development Bank, in her remarks said: “The AfCFTA will create the largest free trade area in the world and if successfully implemented, it will have the potential to boost regional trade and regional integration especially for landlocked and low-income countries. In order to benefit from the AfCFTA, Africa needs to aggressively boost industrialisation. Research by the African Development Bank indicates that Africa is less industrialised than it was three decades ago. The African Development Bank remains ready to support South Africa in ensuring that it leverages the AfCFTA both from its sovereign and non-sovereign windows to integrate Africa and improve the standard of living of the African people. Since 2013 our trade finance programme has supported more than US$12 billion of cumulative trade value.”
Head of Department for Kwazulu-Natal Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Mr. Nhlakanipho Nkontwana said: “We must break down the barriers of access to trade and market information and move faster to build a system that will connect buyers and sellers from across the continent. As a province, we pride ourselves with the biggest automotive producer, Toyota, which is in the process of establishing the Original Equipment Manufacturer) in the South of Durban aimed at promoting localisation. Also, we have just opened the second phase of the Youth Development Fund to promote businesses that are led by young people, especially women, in the Province.”
The IATF2021 Roadshow in Johannesburg featured a panel discussion under the theme ‘Opportunities under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) for South African Manufacturers, Exporters and Investors’ with the participation of SABC Moderator, Ms. Tsepiso Makwetla; Ms. Boitumelo Mosaka, Chief Financial Officer, DBSA; Mr. Muziwethu Mathema, Group Executive Macro Business Intelligence (Chief Economist), Guateng Growth and Development Agency; and Mr. Humphrey Nwugo, Regional Chief Operating Officer (Southern Africa), Afreximbank. There were questions from the floor on the manufacturing, media and tech sectors.
Mr. Humphrey Nwugo, Regional Chief Operating Officer (Southern Africa), Afreximbank said: “The AfCFTA gives us access to 1.2bn people, 3 trillion in market size. It’s a landmark development for Africa because the regional economic communities were focussing on their own regions. The AfCFTA makes it possible for South Africa to look beyond itself. What is essential is geo-politics, good governance. Trade liberalisation by itself is not enough to spur trade expansion. You need trade facilitation. The AfCFTA helps with the removal of non-tariff and tariff barriers, but how do you get your goods to Nigeria? It is the facilitation aspect that African policy makers need to pay attention to.”
Closing Remarks at the Roadshow were made by Councillor Matshidiso Mfikoe, MMC Finance, City of Johannesburg, who thanked the organisers of the Roadshow for patronising and investing in the Johannesburg simply by using the venue, lodging at the venue and catering for all attendees provided by the venue. She also said: “Johannesburg has a particular focus on attracting foreign direct investment. Johannesburg remains open for business and our current infrastructure and maintenance projects are aimed at stimulating local economic development. Our treasury unit will be able to assist and structure our private public partnerships. Africa is open for business.”