Global economic stakeholders have said, Ecofairs 2024 would enhance the goals of Intra-African trade under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Ecofairs is a business initiative of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Friendly Countries in collaboration with the Lagos state government.
Speaking at the Ecofairs news briefing held recently in Lagos, head, Economic and Commercial office, Embassy of Arab Republic of Egypt, Mr Amr Altantawy said Ecofairs would enhance trade and investment between African countries.
He stated that African economic development was one of the top priorities of Egypt, noting that both Egypt and Nigeria have strong presence and influence in all African forums and entities.
Altantawy emphasised the need to cooperate, to fully implement AfCFTA to benefit from its advantages, saying, “we believe that this step will encourage trade between our countries, especially in the sector of food industries, agriculture, mining, energy, construction, infrastructure, textiles, health and medical industries, information technology and much more.”
Consul General of Ghana, Ms Samantha Bukari, said efforts must be in place to make sure that the AfCFTA was well embraced by Africa and their friends worldwide.
Bukari also stated the need to further eliminate barriers to trade to allow the continent to have comparative advantage worldwide.
Rwanda High commissioner, Ambassador Christophe Baziuamo, said the AfCFTA stood as a testament to the collective vision of a united continent in commerce and trade. He said, Rwanda, like many other African nations, recognised the immense potential the agreement held.
He, however, stated that unlocking AfCFTA’s full potential required more than just eliminating tariffs, but must address the critical issue of infrastructures.
Baziuamo said beyond the removal of trade barriers and development of infrastructure, to truly unlock the AfFCTA potential, Africa must also nurture local industries to transform itself from a resource exporter to a manufacturing powerhouse.
The chief executive officer, Ecofairs, Mr Ejarkaminor Riicolins said the 2024 edition was a four in one event with activities such as sales and exhibition, Lagos by night, African excellent award and malaria eradication.
Riicolins stated that over 10,000 potential buyers of goods and services were expected at the 10-day event scheduled for September 6 to September 15, 2024.
“In line with the aim of the AfCFTA to promote indigenous goods and services, interregional partnership entrepreneurship and business extension between Africans and friendly countries, this fair is being held. It would open investment opportunities to foreign investors in the region and facilitate skill and knowledge transfer from invited countries of the year to a sizable number of African young entrepreneurs.
“Ecofairs would also provide solutions to communities by rendering social services such as malaria eradication programmes,” he said.
Meanwhile, Comptroller Dera Nnamdi, Comptroller, Tin Can Port, Command, Nigeria Customs Service, said the service was interested in facilitating a higher level of trade between Nigeria and other African countries.
Also, the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, assured participants at Ecofairs of the highest levels of security.