The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) says the 36th Lagos International Trade Fair (LITF) is positioned to promote economic integration, boost intra-African trade and Nigeria’s Foreign Direct Investment.
LCCI Chairman, Trade Promotion Board (TPB), Mr Leye Kupoluyi, said this at a press conference on Friday in Lagos.
Kupoluyi said the LITF scheduled to hold from Nov. 4 to 13 at Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos, had the theme: “Connecting Businesses, Creating Value.”
The LITF organised by LCCI is the largest international trade fair in West Africa.
It offers opportunities for investment, trade promotion, and unique opportunities for manufacturers, suppliers, buyers and users of a wide range of goods and services.
Some of the objectives of the fair are to promote revitalisation and diversification of the economy, accelerate the development of commerce and industry, and promote made-in-Nigerian products as well as Nigeria’s non-oil exports.
Kupoluyi said the LITF was crucial to promoting Intra-African trade in the face of the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Highlighting some of the events at the 10-day trade fair, he said the Africa Hall would be dedicated to African exhibitors to provide opportunities for cooperation in trade, industry and investment to promote AfCFTA.
“The objective of AfCFTA is to promote intra-African trade, however, the percentage of trade is about 18 per cent, which is very low compared to other continents.
“Over the years, LITF has always been a platform for many countries to interact. This is why we organise and bring different countries to one location to promote trade.
“We also have a new initiative called the National Hall, which aims to bring exhibitors from each country under one roof to promote country-wide agenda uniquely,” he said.
He added that in the months ahead, the chamber would unveil countries that had keyed into this initiative.
“We are also committed to giving visibility to the latest innovation in goods, services and technology through the Special Day programme,” he said.
He listed some of the existing partners to include the African Export-Import Bank (AFREXIM), Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) and United Bank for Africa (UBA).
He said this year’s fair was anticipated to attract more visitors from within and outside the country than the previous year.
“We have received positive responses from visitors including businessmen, investors, customers, top government officials and those seeking joint-venture partnerships,” he said.
Mr Opeyemi Aminu, Chairperson, Operations Committee LITF, said the committee was working toward making improvements and changes to distinguish this year’s trade fair from previous years.
According to him, the intention is to raise the status of the fair by giving a better outlook in terms of arrangement, layout and ambience.
“This year, we are improving the ambience by transforming from wood-constructed shelters to insulated shelters.
“In terms of the layout, we are reintroducing sectorial groups where the same products and services would be grouped in sections. This would make it easy for buyers and sellers to interact freely.
“These changes would start this year and would be implemented gradually in subsequent fairs,” he said.
He added that LCCI was improving the security architecture to respond to current security needs and ensure the safety of participants.
The Chairperson, Marketing Committee TPB, Mrs Victoria Onafowokan-Obadina, urged Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to participate in the Business to Business Meeting segment as it would provide investment opportunities.