AFEX, Nigeria’s leading commodities player, has highlighted the need for streamlined trade, harmonized standards, and improved infrastructure in African agriculture to foster food security across the continent. AFEX took this position during a high-profile “The Real Cost of Food Security” session at the African Food System Forum (AGRF) 2023.
The event, co-hosted by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and the government of Tanzania, unfolded from October 4th to 8th, bringing together global agriculture stakeholders for insightful panel discussions and presentations.
Presently, intra-African trade stands at just 14.4% of total African exports. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) forecasts show the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) could boost intra-African trade by about 33% and cut the continent’s trade deficit by 51%.
Speaking at the session, President of Rest of Africa at AFEX, Sanne Steemers, said, “Currently, Africa lacks essential infrastructure for inter-continental trade, which is hindering the achievement of robust food security across the continent. By implementing a more efficient agreement with African communities, we can promote sub-regional production networks and encourage cooperation initiatives, while promoting good agricultural practices throughout the continent.”
“AFEX recently formed a partnership with Ghana Commodities Exchange, a move rooted in the unwavering belief that together, we can catalyse transformative change. This partnership has been structured to facilitate cross-border knowledge exchange, foster synergistic research endeavours, and enable the seamless cross-listing of commodities, heralding a new era of progress and prosperity for Africa’s agricultural landscape.”
AFEX is dedicated to enhancing trade within Africa by utilising its distinctive exchange model to enter new African markets. After expanding to Kenya and Uganda in 2021 and 2022, AFEX has remained optimistic in achieving its strategic Pan-African expansion objective of setting up in ten African countries within the next ten years. By doing so, AFEX aims to facilitate the efficient trading of commodities in Africa while supporting AFCFTA’s mission to enhance regional trade integration.
Speaking at the closing plenary, MD AFEX Investment Limited, Samirah Ade-Adebiyi, said, “Our primary mission is to contribute to Africa’s self-sufficiency in food production. To achieve this objective, we recognise the importance of tackling three fundamental challenges: financing, storage infrastructure, and facilitating market access. We have successfully implemented solutions to address these challenges in Nigeria, Uganda, and Kenya. Looking ahead, we are excited to announce our expansion into Cote d’Ivoire this year, marking a significant step towards realising our vision of establishing a presence in 10 African nations within the next five years, thus fostering and enhancing regional trade.”
AFEX’s expansion goal continues to set a solid foundation for transparent and inclusive agricultural commodity systems to make trade easier and increase opportunities for farmers by setting grading standards, establishing fair prices, and using advanced technology for quick and efficient trading while strengthening intra-African trade in line with the AfCFTA’s goals.