FirstBank Sponsored A.I.T.E ’23, sets to assist Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Africa venture into American Markets as a strategy to foster economic development in Africa.
The Africa International Trade Exhibition (A.I.T.E), which held in New York, USA, on September 21 and 22, 2023, was themed “the imperatives of global trade for African SMEs as a game changer for the continent’s future prosperity,” underscoring FirstBank’s role in supporting businesses to foster growth and socio-economic development across Africa.
In attendance were distinguished personalities and dignitaries, including Dr. Doris Uzoka-Anite, Minister of Industry Trade and Investment, representing Senator Bola Tinubu, President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria; Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN, Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development of Nigeria; and other key figures from the Nigerian government and the international community.
Tunde MacAlabi, the brain behind the African International Trade Exhibition project, highlighted the initiative’s goal of assisting African SMEs in penetrating the North American market. He emphasized the potential of the African American population in the US of around 30 million consumers spending close to 1.2 trillion dollars, and the global popularity of Afrobeat music as opportunities for diversifying foreign exchange income in Nigeria and Africa.
CEO of FirstBank Group, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, praised the event’s focus on the vital SME sector, noting that it is the bedrock of Africa’s economic prosperity and a testament to the unyielding spirit of the African people. He reaffirmed FirstBank’s vision to become “Africa’s Bank of First Choice” and its steadfast commitment to Africa’s economic transformation through significant investments.
Furthermore, Mrs. Kanayo Awani, Executive Vice President of Intra-African Trade at African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), expressed gratitude for the unique platform created by A.I.T.E to rally global investments and policy support for the African Continental Free Trade Agreements. She stressed the importance of partnerships, the window of opportunity available, and the pivotal role of African SMEs in transforming the continent.
Present at the Event, Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, emphasized the critical role of the aviation sector in unlocking the gains of the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) and encouraged investors to explore Nigeria’s promising aviation sector. Dr. Uzoka-Anite, Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, representing Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, called upon Nigerians in the diaspora to invest in Nigeria, citing the nation’s prosperity, resilience, and welcoming spirit.
The A.I.T.E 2023 Business, Trade, and Investment Summit brought together leaders, entrepreneurs, and government representatives from diverse sectors across Africa and the globe, creating a platform for networking, innovation, and the showcase of cutting-edge products and services to drive economic advancement and cooperation beyond the African continent.