The 16th Abuja International Trade Fair ended with laud ovation from exhibitors, participants and guest 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 organisation and individual with array of display of Nigeria and African made goods and well package products that can fit into international market in readiness for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The President ACCI, Dr. Al-Mujtaba Abubakar who 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 with high level of engagement from various sectors and government agencies with the increasing number of exhibitors and participants it shows that Nigeria government is ready towards preparing the nation to exploit the opportunities the AfCFTA platform has provided.
Dr. Abubakar urged all exhibitors and SME operators to take advantage of the information they have gathered at this year’s Trade Fair to leverage on the opportunities provided by AfCFTA so that Nigeria can we can also compete favorably with other African countries that are already ahead of us.
“If we put our house in order, we can achieve greatly like other countries. The Chinese were able to increase their GDP by 10 percent by the efforts they put in SME, the Ghanaian are also doing well. If Nigeria can do her best, we will not only contribute 10 percent but 15 percent to the global economy.
“Nigeria government must therefore, place priority in the area of infrastructural development such as roads, electricity and others to encourage private sectors and SME so that our economy can have a boost.”
He added again that for Nigeria to benefit from AfCFTA and retain her position as the biggest economy on the continent, we must continue to work to improve our records on 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.”
The Liberia Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr. Al-Hassan Conteh in his goodwill message lauded the effort of the foremost Chamber for organizing this year’s edition of Trade Fair adding that judging by the vibrant atmosphere at this International Trade and Convention Centre over the past week, one can safely say that the trade fair was a resounding success.
“We are also delighted that hundreds of trade representatives participated in the ACCI’s 16th Abuja International Trade Fair to advertise their products and establish business linkages with many stakeholders, especially the SMEs. This is the sure way to boost trade, economic growth and development of Abuja and its regional economy, and by extension economic growth in Nigeria.
“In this context, featuring a roundtable on opportunities of the AfCFTA was a very strategic move that capitalizes on Nigeria’s current status is the largest economy in in AfCFTA, which covers the market of 1.3 billion people and GDP of $2.6 trillion, across all the 55 member States of the African Union (AU). It is the world’s largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Dr. Conteh also assured that they at the Embassy of Liberia in Nigeria are working closely with the ACC to hold the first Nigeria-Liberia Business Forum soon while inviting all participants at this Trade Fair, especially the SMEs, to participate in this forum when announced by the ACCI
“To ensure that no sector of the Abuja economy is left behind, we hope that more emphasis would be placed on capitalizing on the demographic dividend of the Abuja regional economy to attract more businesses that provide entrepreneurial activities for youth and women.”
The Director General ACCI, Victoria Akai in her closing remarks also said ACCI, as a foremost Chamber is excited at the improvement recorded in this year’s Trade Fair as compared with the 15th Edition that struggled as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic which obstructed many activities around the globe.
She said the number of exhibitors, Ministries and Agencies, and participants at the 16th edition revealed that business has indeed received a required push to picked up.
“This annual Trade Fair has had 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 for 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 what AfCFTA has to offer for business and business operator 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 Nigerian’s who are predominantly business minded people begin to take advantage by of what AfCFTA to promote their business within Africa and beyond.”
The Trade fair ended with issuance if certificate of participant to all exhibitors and award to Adamawa State government as the only state represented at this year’s edition.