In a build up to the inaugural Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) that will be held in Egypt later in the year, the Export Promotion Council of Kenya (EPC) and the African Export – Import Bank (Afreximbank) hosted a business engagement session at the Intercontinental Hotel in Nairobi on September 13.
The business networking session included a panel discussion where business and industry leaders discussed strategies to deepen Kenya – Africa trade.
The discussion featured Mr. Kiprono Kittony, Chairman Kenya National Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Jaswinder Bedi, Chairman, Export Promotion Council of Kenya, Mr. Amr Kamel, Executive Vice President- Business Development and Corporate Banking, Afreximbank and Mr. Sebastian Mikosz, Group MD & CEO Kenya Airways.
The panel analysed and explored various challenges and opportunities that countries in Africa can take advantage of such as harnessing technology for manufacturing and key lessons for Kenya that will help ramp up trade output to the rest of Africa.
Also featuring in the networking session was whether the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) can provide a window of opportunity for greater collaboration and partnerships in an African Research & Development analysis segment.
How Kenya can position itself through the IATF platform to be a key player in the single African market that AfCFTA is ushering in was also on the discussion table that featured many other themes.
Analysis by Afreximbank shows that one of the main reasons why intra-African trade is low is because of lack of access to trade and market information.
IATF is therefore geared towards raising intra-African trade from around the 15% mark towards the higher percentages experienced on other continents. Intra-continental trade is highest in Europe at 59% whereas Asia comes in second with 51% while North America’s 37% is third.
The inaugural IATF will provide trade and market information and connect buyers and sellers from across the continent during a 7-day trade show in Cairo from December 11 to December 17.
Sectors expected to be represented at the IATF will be Manufacturing, Logistics, Engineering, Construction, Tourism, Entertainment, ICT, Heavy Industries, Finance, Agriculture and Agro-processing.