Barbados Opens Its First Africa Trade And Investment Forum.

By Maxwell Nkansah

Barbados opens its first African trade and investment forum. The Forum aims to foster the development of strategic partnerships between business communities in Africa and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) region and has attracted approximately 1,500 delegates from 93 countries, comprising 48 African countries, 12 Caribbean countries, and 33 other countries that registered for ACTIF2022.

These participants are senior government representatives, business leaders, representatives of business associations, prospective investors and buyers, project promoters, development agencies, multilateral finance institutions, think tanks, and research institutions from Africa and the Caribbean.

Presentations and panel sessions will address key topics around deepening trade and investment linkages between Africa and the Caribbean. These include accelerating industrialization and manufacturing in Special Economic Zones and Industrial Parks; financing trade and investments; opportunities across the cultural and creative industries; and leveraging the power of the African Continental Free Trade Area.

Other topics include improving logistics to promote tourism, trade, and telecommunications; improving agricultural productivity, agribusiness, and food security; healthcare and life sciences; accelerating private sector trade and investment; creating opportunities for youth and SMEs; as well as building Africa-Caribbean value chains.

The historic African-Caribbean event is currently underway at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre in Bridgetown, Barbados, and will hear addresses from Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley; President Chandrikapersad Santokhi of Suriname, Chairman of CARICOM; and Amadou Hott, Minister of Economy, Planning, and International Cooperation, Republic of Senegal.

These senior officials from Africa and the Caribbean will be joined by a stellar cast of high-level speakers, including Professor Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman, Board of Directors of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank); Albert Muchanga, African Union Commissioner, Economic Development, Trade, Industry, and Mining; and Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General, AfCFTA Secretariat.

The rest are Vera Songwe, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary, Economic Commission for Africa; Dr. Carla Natalie Barnett, Secretary-General, CARICOM Secretariat; and Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director, International Trade Centre.

ACTIF2022 has been structured to provide an important opportunity for the Caribbean and African business communities to establish new commercial and strategic relationships that expand trade between the two regions and source necessary inputs for the design and manufacture of high-value products.

It will also enhance government-business relationships between Africa and the Caribbean and increase inter-regional trade and investment leads through effective business matchmaking.

There is high-level support for ACTIF2022’s intent to bolster bilateral cooperation and increase engagement in trade, investment, technology transfer, innovation, tourism, culture, and other sectors.

ACTIF2022 is also expected to contribute to implementing the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and Caribbean Trade Development Agenda, further reflecting the deep-rooted ties between Africa and the Caribbean based on their shared history, culture, common identity, and destiny.

The Afro-Caribbean Trade and Investment Forum 2022 is being convened by the government of Barbados and Afreximbank in collaboration with the African Union Commission, AfCFTA Secretariat, Africa Business Council, CARICOM Secretariat, and the Caribbean Export Development Agency.

The Forum is being co-managed by Invest Barbados and Export Barbados. The CEOs of both agencies are keen to facilitate the Forum and have high expectations for the outcomes of the four-day session.

 

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