Africa Export-Import (Afrexim) Bank and the government of Barbados have announced the inaugural AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF) which is scheduled to take place from September 1 to September 3.
The forum’s maiden edition dubbed “ACTIF2022” will be held under the theme “One People, One Destiny: Uniting and Reimagining Our Future” at Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre at Bridgetown, the capital of Barbados.
ACTIF2022 is slated to host more than 700 African business moguls, African and Caribbean Heads of State, senior government officials, investors and representatives of financial institutions, business associations, think-tanks and research institutions from Africa and the Caribbean.
ACTIF is a collective initiative of Invest Barbados and Export Barbados, in collaboration with Afreximbank, the African Union Commission, the AfCFTA Secretariat, the Africa Business Council, the CARICOM Secretariat, and the Caribbean Export Development Agency.
The CEOs of Invest Barbados and Export Barbados Mark Hill and Kaye Greenidge, respectively, have high expectations for the outcome of the forum. Demonstrating their commitment to its success, they hosted Kanayo Awani, executive vice president of Afreximbank’s Intra-African Trade Bank, and her team during a preparatory visit to the Caribbean island between July 20 and 22.
“The forum aims to foster the development of strategic partnerships between the business communities in Africa and the Caribbean, to bolster bilateral cooperation and increase engagement in trade, investment, technology transfer, innovation, tourism, culture, and other sectors,” said Export Barbados (BIDC) and Invest Barbados in a statement on Wednesday.
“Additionally, ACTIF 2022 is expected to contribute to the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and the Caribbean trade development agenda, further reflecting the deep-rooted ties between Africa and the Caribbean based on their shared history, culture, common identity, and destiny,” they added.
The forum is one of the first projects to come out of 2021’s First Africa-Caricom summit which saw Heads of State of various African and Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries gather together virtually.
Prof. Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank highlighted the relevance of the summit to the realisation of the upcoming forum.
“The joint hosting of the first Africa-Caribbean Trade and Investment Forum is a key step towards the renaissance of the relationship between Africa and the Caribbean. Following the step taken on Sept. 7, 2021, by the African and Caribbean Heads of State and Government at their summit where they renewed their commitment to revitalise the relationship, ACTIF2022 is the next logical stride, using the power of trade to reconnect the two regions,” said Oramah.
Expressing his appreciation to the Barbadian government, he said, “We thank the Government of Barbados for sharing our vision and generously committing itself without hesitation to host this Forum, extending the invitation to the business communities and developmental agencies in Africa and the wider Caribbean region. We look forward to a successful forum and a renewed relationship between two regions that everything links.”
Also citing the First Africa-Caricom summit, Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley said, “Last September, Barbados signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Afreximbank, and we are committed to the success of that MOU.”
Mottley went on to express her confidence that the forum would connect African and Caribbean peoples, and foster wider cooperation, including an increased flow of goods and services between the two regions.
ACTIF2022 is open for registration to the public.
Sources: Caribbean Barbados News, The Guardian