trade fair Ramaphosa jobs Soweto

Photo: Twitter @CyrilRamaphosa

Intra-African Trade Fair: Ramaphosa calls for more ‘made in Africa’ labels

President Cyril Ramaphosa, speaking at the Intra-African Trade Fair, has called for more goods to be produced on the continent.

trade fair Ramaphosa jobs Soweto

Photo: Twitter @CyrilRamaphosa

The Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2021) kicked off under the theme “Building Bridges for a successful AfCFTA” at the Durban International Convention Centre on Monday. 

Seven African Heads of States including SA president Cyril Ramaphosa, Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari, (Nigeria), Zambian president, Hakainde Hichilema, and Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Ramaphosa, who delivered the keynote address, said South Africa was ready to work with other African countries to drive more balanced, equitable and fair-trade relations for the benefit of the continent. 

“This Trade Fair is about building bridges. It is about connecting countries. It is about connecting people as well. Now Africa is taking concrete steps to write its own economic success story and this Intra-African Trade Fair is part of that story. Africa is opening up new fields of opportunity,” Ramaphosa said.

Ramaphosa calls for the production of African goods at Trade Fair

Ramaphosa also called for more “made in Africa” labels.

“This is critical if we are to change the distorted trade relationship that exists between African countries and the rest of the world. We can no longer have a situation where Africa exports raw materials and imports finished goods with those materials. By promoting trade in Africa, we strengthen our own industrial base and produce goods for ourselves and for each other,” Ramaphosa said.

Buhari said the continent had started a “collaborative journey towards collective economic prosperity”. 

“We cannot achieve this goal by talking alone. The implementation, the difficult journey and the challenges are surmountable if both public and private sectors collaborate. On the public sector side, governments must support local entrepreneurs to build scale, and therefore improve productivity,” Buhari.

“The African Continental Free Trade Area must make the effort to ensure that Africa must be a marketplace where no country is left behind. We must ensure that we create jobs and enhance revenues for all parties,” he said.

Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank, the event’s promoters, said IATF2021 was a demonstration of Africa’s defiance of the dark clouds gathered by the Covid-19 pandemic.  

“The stimulation of economies isn’t about trade, it’s about job creation and holistic economic recovery backed by political support. It offers a comprehensive solution – it is not just a trade fair,” he said.