The 16th Abuja International Trade Fair ended with plaudits from exhibitors, participants and guests for the organiser, Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), as the fair was said to have recorded great feat over the 15th edition.
Exhibitors, participants and visitors attested that the Fair recorded huge participation from both local and international business organisations and individuals with an array of Nigerian and African-made goods and well package products that can fit into the international market in readiness for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The president ACCI, Dr Al-Mujtaba Abubakar, said the annual platform has become a major gathering for businesses from all over Nigeria, Africa and across the world in his closing speech today added that the 16th edition of Abuja International Trade Fair with the theme, ‘Exploring Opportunities of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)’ is indeed a landmark event that has revealed a lot that we need to know and understand about what AfCFTA has to offer.
He said the high level of engagement from various sectors and government agencies, was proof that the Nigerian government was ready to exploit the opportunities provided by the AfCFTA.
Abubakar urged all exhibitors and SME operators to take advantage of the information gathered at this year’s fair to grab the opportunities provided by AfCFTA, so that Nigeria can also compete favourably with other African countries already ahead of it.
“If we put our house in order, we can achieve great things like other countries. The Chinese were able to increase their GDP by 10 per cent by the efforts they put into SMEs, the Ghanaians are also doing well. If Nigeria can do her best, we will not only contribute 10 per cent but 15 per cent to the global economy.
“The Nigerian government must, therefore, prioritise the development of infrastructures such as roads, electricity and others to encourage private sectors and SMEs, so that our economy can have a boost,” he said.
He added that, for Nigeria to benefit from AfCFTA and retain its position as the biggest economy on the continent, it must continue to improve its records on the ease of doing business.
“In addition to the action plans already created by the national AfCFTA committee, a deliberate emergency action must be taken to ease the export process, ensure a single export clearing desk for exporters, force regulators to become facilitators and declare export facilitation as a national emergency,” Abubakar stated.
The Liberian Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Al-Hassan Conteh, in his goodwill message lauded the efforts of the chamber for organizing this year’s edition of the fair, as judging by the vibrant atmosphere, it would be safe to say the fair was a resounding success.
The ACCI director-general, Victoria Akai, in her closing remarks, also said the ACCI, as a foremost chamber, was excited at the improvement recorded at this year’s fair, compared to the 15th edition which was slow, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
She said the number of exhibitors, ministries and agencies, and participants at the 16th edition revealed that businesses have got the desired push and picked up the pace.
“This annual Trade Fair has had a successive influence on the local economy by the initial injection of exhibition spending through from companies involved directly in the exhibitions and from exhibitors and visitors. It provides direct revenues for vendors, hostels, transport operators including airlines, logistics operators, food and beverage businesses, tourism, telecommunications and other local services.”
“The theme of this year’s edition, ‘Exploring Opportunities of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)’, came at the right time as exhibitors and participants were able to get valuable information on AfCFTA’s offerings to businesses and business operators in the country.
“The standard of products packaging and the quality of products on display show that Nigeria is, indeed, prepared and ready to take advantage of huge opportunities offered by AfCFTA. The fair is, thus, a major contributor to the facilitation of trade both locally and internationally. As a chamber, we do hope that business-minded Nigerians begin to take advantage of what AfCFTA to promote their business within Africa and beyond,” she added.
A statement by the ACCI media/strategy officer, Olayemi John-Mensah, said the trade fair ended with the presentation of certificates of participation to all exhibitors and award to Adamawa State government as the only state represented at this year’s edition.