FITA 2019 discusses ways to boost inter-African trade


(TAP) – Ways to promote the inter-African trade that currently does not exceed 13% against rates of over 50% in the other continents (60% inter-European) will be discussed at the 2nd edition of the “Financing Investment & Trade in Africa” (FITA 2019), February 5-6 in Tunis, on the theme: “For the acceleration of Inter-African trade and investments,” at the initiative of the Tunisian African business Council (TABC).

Taking the floor at the opening works of this forum, Minister of Development, Investment and International Co-operation Zied Laadhari said that the development of inter-African trade is facing three important challenges, namely, the promotion of the continent’s image for a long time associated with humanitarian crises and turmoil in spite of its strong human potential and richness of its resources, the development of regional integration and the promotion of investment.

Reforms to remove all the obstacles to investment, develop the business climate, guarantee good governance, mobilise resources and establish the continent’s credibility should be undertaken, he added.

On this occasion, Laadhari reaffirmed the Tunisian government’s commitment to support all projects and programmes aimed to step up trade with Africa, pointing out that the development of investments in this continent with promising prospects, can contribute to the creation of jobs for youths and to economic growth.

Taking the floor, CEO of the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) Hani Salem Sombol said that the agreement inked in March 2018 in Kigali (Rwanda) on the creation of a continental free trade zone (CFTZ) is an important framework to step up inter-African trade exchanges, that can easily rise to 50%, and create jobs for the African continent’s youths in accordance with the sustainable development goals.

The CFTZ is a broader agreement that covers the mobility of persons and intellectual property, he specified.

For his part, TABC President Bassem Loukil indicated that funding, the lack of Tunisian diplomatic representation in Africa, the logistics and transport remain the major problems impeding the development of Tunisian investments in Africa.

The inter-African rapprochement can only be achieved by setting up an important banking network and increasing air and sea links to all the African countries, he added.

According to him, the best growth rates during the past years were recorded in Africa.

Besides, he laid emphasis on the importance of developing inter-African exchanges so as the added value will be exploited by the African population.

Loukil pointed out that this second edition of FITA is a conference that aims to discuss the funding mechanisms of African operators.

Some 3,000 economic operators, 60 speakers, 30 international institutions are expected in this edition and 1,000 meetings and networking are on the agenda.

The event will also be an occasion to present new alternative funding solutions, development capital, crowdfunding, insurance-credit that can complement the African traditional banking offer.

The participants will also discuss ways to bring Tunisian banks closer to their pan-African counterparts to facilitate access to funding services in Africa.

This second edition will also offer the opportunity for some sub-Saharan countries to present their Economic Development Plan, the structuring investment projects (especially public-private-partnership PPP) and funding methods.

Workshops to be attended by Pan-African financial institutions and economic operators to develop synergies will be organised.

En présence des institutions financières Panafricaines et des opérateurs économiques, des workshops pays seront organisés permettant de développer des synergies.

This conference gathers 1,000 African officials and decision-makers, several African ministers of investment, international co-operation and trade, as well as heads of pan-African and international financial institutions, CEOs and experts to reflect together on the best ways to enrich funding tools and techniques so as to support the expected intra-African trade and investment development.

Cette conférence regroupe 1000 cadres et décideurs africains, plusieurs ministres d’investissement, de coopération internationale et de commerce africains, ainsi que les patrons des institutions financières panafricaines et internationales, des CEO et des experts, pour réfléchir ensemble sur les meilleurs moyens d’enrichir les dispositifs et techniques de financement à même de soutenir le développement attendu du commerce et de l’investissement intra-Africain.

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