ACCI, Sfax Chambers Business Forum discuss moves to deepen intra-African trade
By Lubem Gena
A renewed commitment has been injected into the intra-African trade initiative with the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) and Sfax Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Tunisia undertaking to bridge the existing gap.
Speaking at the Sfax Trade Mission to Nigeria which took place at the Abuja International Trade and Convention Centre on Tuesday, 29th October, the President of ACCI, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode reiterated the commitment of the and the business community in Nigeria to ensure that both countries carry out mutually beneficial trade deals.
This was made known to journalists by the Media and Strategy Officer of the Chamber, Mr. Gena Lubem who also said the two Chambers signed Business Cooperation Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
“I want to use this gathering to reiterate the commitment of the ACCI to ensure that the abundant opportunities in the continent are harnessed for the full benefits of the business community and our people.
“The Nigeria-Tunisia Business Forum offers another platform for strengthening of trade relations between our two friendly nations which will also go a long way in boosting regional commercial ties among African countries.
“As we move forward towards stronger economic relationships, I want to invite and encourage the Tunisian companies to seize the highly lucrative opportunities for investment in Nigeria in areas like integrated animal husbandry, agriculture, industrial parks, hotels and tourism development and so on.
“We will continue to open doors of opportunities for you by officially informing you about our activities and other business people in this country who would want to do business with you in areas of your strength such as agriculture, automobile, manufacturing, education, hospitality among others. In no distance future, we hope that Nigeria will establish aviation link between you and Abuja.
“Nigeria has a big market, hence investment in Nigeria in collaboration with local partners is a profitable venture in both short and long terms. That explains why many countries are flocking to Nigeria. Tunisia should grab these opportunities courageously.
“Today has created a platform for members of your delegation to get first-hand information on the great opportunities and good climate Nigeria is endowed with. Both countries have a lot to benefit from each other and it is particularly gladdening that the OPS is posed to ensure that the relationship is sustained across the sectors both countries are interested in”, Prince Kayode stated.
Cross section of participants in the Business Meeting
In her address, the National President of Nigeria Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Hajia Iya Saratu Aliyu in a message to the event delivered by Chief Executive Officer of Federation of West African Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FEWACCI), Mr. Aminou Akadiri said the time has come for both countries to increase their trade volumes by embarking on joint activities and programmes.
She appreciated the efforts of both chambers in fashioning modalities that will bring their business partners together in platforms that will deepen economic integration.
Also speaking, the Ambassador of Tunisia to Nigeria, Mr. Jalel Trabelsi who explained his country’s innovations and technological strides pointed out that the collaborative efforts championed by the two chambers will go a long way in integrating themselves into economies for mutually beneficial transactions and deals.
According to him, as both countries hopes to tap into the comparative advantages of each other, it was time for the Organised Private Sector (OPS) to take the driver seat based on specific areas of interest across several sectors such as building, power, electrical and electronics areas amongst others.
“We have to appreciate the impressive development that had taken place in our countries. In all categories Tunisia has demonstrated practically that it is a force to reckon with today in the ICT, medical and agriculture among others. We must therefore leverage on one another in order to increase our overall trade volume”, he added.
In his speech, the President of Sfax Chamber, Mr. Ridha Fourati said they were not in the country to sell finished goods but to build long-term partnership in the areas it has the know-how and technological competence.
He expressed optimism that the both the short and long terms outcomes of the business visit to Nigeria will bring about the expected success and follow up activities will be activated.
Meanwhile, the Director, Economic, Consular and Legal department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Folake Abdulrazak in her keynote address urged the Tunisian business delegation to take full advantage of the friendly investment climate and return on investment in Nigeria.
Mrs. Folake who is also the First Lady of Kara state called on the delegation to also visit and explore the opportunities in Kwara state.
There was also a Business-To-Business Forum where businessmen exchanged contacts and discussed mutually beneficial deals.