The Lagos International Trade Fair for the first time in its history earmarked its seventh day for Africa Day celebration.
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry in its bid to promote trade and economic development in Africa, hosted the celebration at the banquet hall of the Tafawa Balewa Square on Thursday, November 7, 2019. The aim of the celebration was to educate the public about the state of the trade between African countries.
With the theme Boosting Intra-African Trade (BIAT): Trade Facilitation for Nigeria’s Export, major stakeholders in the African economic space were brought together to discuss and present papers on the central theme. Such stakeholders included:
- Alhaji Abubakar A. Bello, the Managing Director/CEO of Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM Bank),
- the Group Managing Director/CEO, United Bank for Africa (UBA), Mr. Kennedy Uzoka,
- Professor Benedict Oramah, the President of Africa Export-Import Bank (AFREXIM).
They all presented papers on the theme. The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry in partnership with AFREXIMBANK, UBA, NEXIM, and FAE organized the event which is expected to have its second edition during the 2020 Lagos International Trade Fair.
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Discussions centred on measures to boost trade in the African region especially between African countries; the need to introduce African SMEs into the mainstream economic sector through the use of financial instruments such as loans and grants was a key point noted during the panel discussion. Without a doubt, there is little connection between African markets and this was brought to the fore at the event as suggestions centred on improving the collectivity of African markets to facilitate intra-African trade.
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African culture was recognised as the continent’s most marketable commodity to the global market. The rich cultural heritage of Africa with great regard to the textile industry was reasoned as a means to get global attention to the African market. Other points noted by key economic stakeholders at the event included:
- summoning African leaders to discuss measures that must be implemented to boost trade in the region,
- removal of trade barriers such as visa denial to businessmen/women that are willing to extend their trade beyond their countries to every part of Africa.
- the dependency on the dollar (a foreign currency) to facilitate trade within Africa. Resolutions regarding this problem were all focused on having a single currency for trading transactions in the whole of Africa.
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When quizzed about policies necessary to improve trade in Africa, the panelists underlined the need to boost education and research, alongside promoting technology in Africa in a century that has seen the globe digitalized.
The President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Babatunde Paul Ruwase, during his closing remarks thanked the sponsors who he noted are willing to contribute to the second edition of the event in 2020, and the entire public for turning out for the celebration which will go down in history as the first of its kind.
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