The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has inaugurated an Advisory Council for the inaugural Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2018), with former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo as Chairman.
Jean-Louis Ekra, a former President of Afreximbank, is the Deputy Chairman of the Advisory Council, which is charged with providing guidance for the preparations for the trade fair scheduled to hold in Cairo from 11 to 17 December 2018.
Also represented on the Council are the African Union Commission; the African Development Bank; the Pan-African Chamber of Commerce and Industry; the World Trade Centre, Miami; the International Trade Centre; Egypt, as the host country, the AfroChampions Initiative; and PixyKorner, the professional trade fair organiser retained for the event. Afreximbank is serving as the Secretariat.
At the inaugural meeting of the Council in Kigali on 22 March, Afreximbank President Dr. Benedict Oramah said that the role of the body was to be the main driver for the planning of the trade fair in order to ensure that it achieved the objective of driving intra-African trade.
Dr. Oramah announced that Egypt had been selected as the preferred host for the inaugural fair following a competitive bidding process, and stated that the fair would take place every two years
Mr. Ekra announced that although President Obasanjo had travelled to Kigali to attend the meeting, he had had to leave to attend to some urgent matters and had sent his apologies for not being able to attend.
The meeting of the advisory Council marked the culmination of a series of activities relating to the trade fair which Afreximbank had organized on the sidelines of the Extraordinary Summit of the African Union. The Extraordinary Summit was convened for the signing of the Agreement for the African Continental Free Trade Area.
On 20 March 2018, Afreximbank, the African Union and the Government of Egypt signed the hosting agreement for the trade fair. This was followed on 21 March by the formal launch of the trade fair, including the unveiling of the IATF2018 plaque and a press conference to announce the event.