Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and chair of the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2023) Advisory Council has justified how to unlock the untapped potential of African countries.

Obasanjo delivered a speech at the IATF2023, a hybrid event in Cairo, Egypt on Friday.

The former Nigerian leader noted that the untapped potential of the African continent will be unlocked through cooperation and collaboration.

According to Obasanjo, intra-African trade would foster industrialization and create job opportunities for Africans.

The former president said that beyond being just an exhibition of goods and services, the IATF2023 was a platform for networking, collaboration and knowledge sharing.

He said, “It is bringing together entrepreneurs, investors, innovators, and policymakers from across Africa and its diaspora to exchange ideas, forge partnerships and explore new opportunities,” the former Nigerian leader.

“It is through this spirit of cooperation and collaboration that we will unlock the untapped potential of our continent.

“The trade fair signified the commitment of Africa and its diaspora nations to economic integration and to their collective determination to create a prosperous future.”

He called on African leaders, policymakers, and representatives to foster an environment conducive to trade by eliminating unnecessary bureaucracy, harmonizing regulations and investing in necessary infrastructure.

Obasanjo also mentioned that the IATF2023 was a stepping stone towards a future where African nations traded freely, breaking down barriers and opening doors of opportunities for all.

He urged entrepreneurs and innovators to seize the moment to build bridges of commerce between nations and within communities by embracing the spirit of entrepreneurship to unlock new markets.

IATF2023 is Africa’s largest trade and investment fair, projected to attract over 1,600 exhibitors and 35,000 visitors and buyers.

The IATF, also known as the AfCFTA Marketplace, is organized by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) in collaboration with the African Union and AfCFTA Secretariat.

The fair will close on November 15.