Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, the former president of Africa’s largest economic contributor Nigeria arrived at King Shaka International Airport in Durban on Thursday morning, before the Intra-Africa Trade Fair (IATF) signing ceremony scheduled to take place at the International Convention Centre.

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The Nigerian statesman was welcomed by wet weather and MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Ravi Pillay. Obasanjo, the IATF advisory council chairperson and KZN premier Sihle Zikalala will lead the signing ceremony of the IATF agreement which will see Durban play host to the event in November this year.

Present at the ceremony will also be Afreximbank president Professor Benedict Oramah Commissioner of the AU for Economic Development, Trade and Industry Albert Muchanga and secretary-general of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Wamkele Mene.

A panel discussion will take place after the signing ceremony, with a focus on promoting the country under the AfCFTA post Covid-19. AfCFTA is the largest in terms of the number of countries participating, comprising 54 of the 55 AU nations. The trade fair will run for seven days, from November 15 to 21.

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The event promised to be the biggest one hosted by South Africa since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in March last year, said the department of Economic Development, Trade and Industry on Thursday.

It is the biggest trade fair on the continent and is expected to generate around $40 billion (about R580bn) in trade and investment deals.