Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al Sisi has urged African nations to unite their efforts and foster intra-African trade.
In an address at the Presidential Summit of the third Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2023) in Cairo, the Egyptian leader emphasizes Africa’s natural resources, agricultural, educational, and mineral potential for intra-African trade, urging positive cooperation among African nations for mutual growth.
“As you can see, the capabilities exist and the possibilities exist, but there may be some obstacles and problems that hinder this work,” he said.
He stated that Egypt will consistently make efforts to build, develop, rebuild, and cooperate in these fields.
The President emphasized the importance of IATF2023 in boosting local economies and overcoming challenges through regional partnerships, aiming to elevate intra-African trade to its desired level.
Prof. Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), said the Bank, in collaboration with the African Union Commission and the AfCFTA Secretariat, has supported the delivery of critical instruments for AfCFTA, including the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS), which is making intra-African payments quicker, cheaper, more efficient, and in African currencies.
“Afreximbank supports PAPSS with a settlement and clearing fund of US$3 billion,” he said.
Prof. Oramah announced the commencement of the African Collaborative Transit Guarantee Scheme in the COMESA Region, ensuring smoother, faster, and cheaper movement of goods across Africa’s 110 borders.
“In combination with the PAPSS, the Transit Scheme will reduce the foreign currency cost of paying for transit bonds,” he said.
According to Oramah, the AfCFTA Adjustment Fund, funded by Afreximbank, will be operational by early next year, with a total of $1 billion approved.
Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former Nigerian President, praised the IATF for its success, including the introduction of the African Buyers Programme for increased trade among African nations.
Chief Obasanjo expressed gratitude to Egypt’s government and people for hosting the trade fair on short notice, praising the outstanding achievements since its start on November 9.
He commended the participants for signing numerous deals and introducing initiatives for Africa’s benefit.
Also speaking, Wamkele Mene, Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), praised Egypt for hosting the IATF for the second time and supporting its implementation.
He noted that Egypt led in establishing the AfCFTA Trading Company, aiming to strengthen ties among its member countries.
Mr. Mene announced the establishment of an investment protocol to support the Pan-African Trade Investment Agency’s development and facilitate investments across Africa.
In his own remarks, Albert Muchanga, African Union Commissioner for Economic Development, Trade, Tourism, Industry, and Minerals, emphasized intra-African trade and the AfCFTA as key factors in Africa’s prosperity.