The Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2020) that was scheduled to take place in Kigali in September this year has been postponed to September 2021 due to COVID-19 pandemic.
IAFT was initially scheduled to take place from September 1-7 of this year, but its advisory council, during a virtual meeting on April 26 decided to postpone it to September 6-12, 2021.
The advisory council for IAFT includes Rwanda government members and Afreximbank.
Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank said, “The continuing COVID-19 pandemic situation was not conducive to hold such an important pan African event which was initially scheduled to take place in just four months. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced governments, corporations, and individuals to take unprecedented measures to take public safety,”
“It is our responsibility to comply with these measures to protect our host country and ensure the health and safety of all delegates, exhibitors, and participants who have confirmed or expressed interest in taking part in the second edition of IATF.”
According to Amb. Albert Muchanga, Commissioner for Trade and Industry of the African Union, the postponement would allow stakeholders to focus on the urgent collective task of responding to the pandemic.
“ We are facing an unprecedented health crisis. This is the time to join efforts to also mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the African economies. We have agreed that the second IATF needed to take place in a more favorable context to enable African countries and companies to take full advantage of the trade fair, which will now become an element of their recovery strategy,” Amb. Muchanga said.
Soraya Hakuziyaramye, minister of Trade and Industry in Rwanda said, “The reality we have confronted with today as we fight COVID-19 has prompted us to look at various factors which undoubtedly impact the African commission,”
“Rwanda is looking forward to the AITF in 2021 to boost Intra African Trade, which is even more crucial to the development of our country.” Hakuziyaramye said.
According to organizers, IATF2020 will also change its name to IATF2021.
IATF2021 is expected to be Africa’s main trade event of 2021 and is aimed at providing a marketplace for buyers and sellers of products and services from Africa and beyond to meet and explore business opportunities.