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Unisa participates in the African Trade Fair in Durban

The University of South Africa (Unisa) delegation led by its Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Puleng LenkaBula, participated in one of the most meaningful networking fora for businesses in Africa which aimed to take their business affairs to another level. The African Union, the African Export-Import Bank and the Government of the Republic of South Africa hosted the 2nd Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2021) in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal from 15 to 21 November 2021. The  Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) is a trade show that provides a platform for sharing trade, investment and market information, and enabling buyers and sellers, investors and countries to meet and to discuss and conclude business deals.

This week-long trade fair aims to accelerate trade and investment on the African continent and, most importantly, to encourage the movement of goods and services between African countries.

Prof Puleng LenkaBula, Unisa VC & Principal and HE Souleymane Diarrassouba, Côte d’Ivoire Minister of Commerce and Industry

Unisa was one of only a few institutions to be invited to this world-class African trade fair bringing together business executives and government leaders from more than 30 countries under one roof. The university’s participation has been crucial and strategic in many ways, with Ambassador Prof Iqbal Jhazbhay, Director of Projects (Acting) in the Office of the Principal & Vice-Chancellor, taking part in a number of strategic presentations and engagements from the start of the trade fair. Prof Jhazbhay, Former South African Ambassador to Eritrea, coordinated meetings and the VC’s engagements with senior business and government leaders in attendance of this trade fair. Ambassador Prof Jhazbhay facilitated a meeting between the Vice-Chancellor and Mr Denys Denya, Executive Vice-President of the Afreximbank, which is a main sponsor of this event on 17 November 2021 – on the same evening the Vice-Chancellor attended a gala dinner hosted by the Côte d’Ivoire Minister of Commerce and Industry, where she engaged further with government and business leaders.

The university’s participation was worthwhile and strategic since the IATF facilitates meetings and networking opportunities with major African trade actors (B2B, B2C, and B2G) and political stakeholders – all ready to make a deal. Collaborations amongst many stakeholders could accelerate businesses’ reach into African markets. This trade fair is undoubtedly a unique and valuable platform for businesses to access an integrated African market of over 1.2 billion people with a GDP of over US$2.5 trillion created under the African Continental Free Trade Area.

Unisa’s delegation accompanied the VC to these engagements, thus maximising the university’s exposure and reach to wider African market leaders and innovators. President Cyril Ramaphosa officially opened this gathering on Monday 15 November 2021. He emphasised the need for the African countries to trade with one another since this could drive the economic growth in all the regions of Africa.

Unisa’s vision, "the African university shaping futures in the service of humanity", drives the university to find answers to Africa’s educational and developmental problems. By forming partnerships in Africa and throughout the world, the university can help the people of Africa achieve their dreams. Participation in this trade fair is part of a series of activities undertaken by the VC to fulfil the university’s long-term vision.

* By Siyabonga Seme, Communications Manager: Unisa KZN Region

Publish date: 2021-11-19 00:00:00.0