President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, 15th of November 2021 tasked African Governments and the private sector present at the ongoing Intra-African Trade fair (IATF) on support for local entrepreneurs by providing them with incentives. This according to him was to build scale and improve productivity.
“This means providing incentives to encourage our businesses to formalise and comply with laid down regulations. Retrain and support and fairness can only be achieved through proper regulation”, he said at the ongoing IATF in Durban South Africa.
“I call on all Nigerians to domesticate the protection of our most basic requirements and provide jobs to our children and dynamic teaming population. “Under African free trade area, we can double our African trade by 2030, reduce our reliance on imports and therefore promote exports within the continent, we cannot achieve this goal by doing it alone, the bulk of it is in the private sector,” President Buhari said.
Speaking with journalists immediately after the opening session, he said what we are doing first is to build infrastructure. Between 1999 and 2014, Nigeria was producing 2.1 million barrels a day which cost us $100 per barrel, when we came, the militants were unleashing on us and production went down to half a million barrels a day.
“With this, the cost of petroleum went down to $37 from $100. Imagine what is happening in the North East and the South-South, then you can appreciate within time the resources available and how well our administration is doing.” In his welcome address, President Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa, said the goods, products and services exhibited at the fair represent all the countries of Africa, and its success rests on the participation of all.
He said The AfCFTA aspires to connect all the regions of Africa, to deepen economic integration and to boost intra-African trade and investment. “It aspires to create a single market for goods and services across 55 countries and our continent, creating a market of as much as 1.3 billion people with a combined GDP of $3.4 trillion,” he said.
Ramaphosa said it is important that the Intra-African Trade Fair gives special attention to African women in business, recognising their great potential as drivers of economic change across the continent. “Trade is built on a bedrock of investment. We must therefore find ways of attracting more investment into our economies, and, crucially, we must encourage African businesses to invest in each other’s countries,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, Albert Muchanga, African Union Commission Commissioner, Economic Development, Trade, Industry and Mining, said the private sector, small, medium and large scale, as well as the African Diaspora, are key partners in the Intra-African Trade Fair. To this end, the African Union Commission is enhancing collaboration with the African Diaspora and the continental private sector in the varied areas of manufacturing, agro-processing, mining, cotton and textiles, tourism, transport, communication and logistics among several others.
“I thank all the countries, companies and other stakeholders participating in this Fair. It is your participation that will make it a distinct success that we want it to be. With your presence, we are consolidating our efforts to create this emerging brand of the Intra-African Free Trade Area which started operating in December, 2018 in Cairo, Egypt,” Muchanga said.