The KwaZulu-Natal Province is ready to host a successful 2021 Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2021) – an event which is set to inject hundreds of millions of rand to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), boost the tourism sector and create over 1000 jobs.
The event to be hosted in Durban from the 15th to the 21st of November 2021 is expected to attract direct spend of R235 million, contribute an estimated R600 million to the GDP and create a total of 1200 jobs.
This was the sentiment expressed by Premier Sihle Zikalala today following the signing of an agreement for the hosting of the IATF2021. The signing ceremony, was held at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban this afternoon.
“This is a welcome shot-in-the-arm for KwaZulu-Natal as we embark on resetting and growing our economy under the Economic Reconstruction and Transformation Plan. In its first edition held in Cairo in December 2018, the event attracted over 1000 exhibitors from 45 countries. This resulted in over US$32 billion worth of trade and investment deals closed at the event. As of 31 January 2021, an amount of about US$ 27 billion has been implemented or is under implementation. We look forward to welcoming the companies, exhibitors and country representatives to KZN,” Premier Zikalala said.
The signing ceremony was attended by among others, the former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in his capacity as Chairman of the Advisory Council of the IATF and the President of AfreximBank, Professor Bennedict Oramah.
Former President Obasanjo said this year’s IATF would build on the successes of the 2018 IATF. At this year’s event deals worth an estimated $40 billion are expected to be signed.
Former President Obasanjo added that lack of information was one of the inhibitors to trade with traders not knowing what each country is producing and what each country needs. “The trade fair is one of the practical ways of bridging the information gap”.
Speaking at the ceremony, Prof. Oramah said the Intra-African Trade Fair was key in reverse engineering the “colonial strategy” that has held Africa down for decades. “The colonial strategy divided us, the trade fair is about breaking down borders and building bridges.”
The KwaZulu-Natal delegation led by Premier Zikalala included MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Ravi Pillay, MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development Bongi Sithole-Moloi, MEC for Health Nomagugu Simelane, MEC for Education Kwazi Mshengu and MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Sipho Hlomuka; the Mayor of eThekwini, Cllr Mxolisi Kaunda and the Director-General of the Province Dr Nonhlanhla Mkhize.
Mayor Kaunda echoed the sentiments shared by Premier Zikalala saying eThekwini was ready to deliver a memorable Intra-African Trade Fair event. “We are excited about this opportunity because it has a potential to boost our tourism industry which has been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.” We also have no doubt that this event will contribute significantly to the city’s revenue and create much-needed jobs, particularly in the hospitality sector which lost over R4 billion during the hard lockdown,” said Mayor Kaunda.