NIGERIA- AFEX, Nigeria’s leading commodities player, recently spotlighted the need for streamlined trade, harmonized standards, and improved infrastructure in African agriculture to foster food security across the continent.
AFEX reiterated its stance during a prominent session titled “The Real Cost of Food Security” at the African Food System Forum (AGRF) 2023.
This event, co-hosted by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and the government of Tanzania, unfolded from September 4th to 8th, convening global agriculture stakeholders for insightful panel discussions and presentations.
At present, intra-African trade accounts for a mere 14.4% of total African exports but forecasts from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) suggest that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) could increase intra-African trade by approximately 33% and reduce the continent’s trade deficit by 51%.
During the session, Sanne Steemers, the President of the Rest of Africa at AFEX, emphasized, “Africa currently lacks the necessary infrastructure for inter-continental trade, which is impeding the realization of robust food security across the continent. By implementing a more efficient agreement with African communities, we can foster sub-regional production networks and promote cooperative initiatives while advocating for sound agricultural practices continent-wide.”
AFEX has been enabling efficient trade for commodities in Africa, with solutions starting at the producer level, ensuring improvement in productivity and livelihoods while building up commodity volumes in the right quality and quantity for local and regional trade.
AFEX is committed to enhancing intra-African trade by leveraging its distinctive exchange model to expand into new African markets. Following its expansion into Kenya and Uganda in 2021 and 2022, AFEX remains optimistic about achieving its strategic Pan-African expansion goal of operating in ten African countries within the next decade.
By doing so, AFEX aims to facilitate the efficient trading of commodities in Africa while supporting the AfCFTA’s mission to advance regional trade integration.
“AFEX has recently established a partnership with the Ghana Commodities Exchange, driven by our unwavering belief that together, we can catalyze transformative change. This partnership is designed to facilitate cross-border knowledge exchange, encourage synergistic research endeavors, and enable the seamless cross-listing of commodities, ushering in a new era of progress and prosperity for Africa’s agricultural landscape,” Steemers added.
During the closing plenary, Samirah Ade-Adebiyi, Managing Director of AFEX Investment Limited, stated, “Our primary mission is to contribute to Africa’s self-sufficiency in food production. To achieve this objective, we acknowledge the importance of addressing three fundamental challenges: financing, storage infrastructure, and facilitating market access.”
Samirah added that AFEX has successfully implemented solutions to tackle these challenges in Nigeria, Uganda, and Kenya.
“Looking ahead, we are thrilled to announce our expansion into Cote d’Ivoire this year, marking a significant step toward realizing our vision of establishing a presence in 10 African nations within the next five years, thereby fostering and enhancing regional trade.”
AFEX’s expansion endeavors continue to lay a solid foundation for transparent and inclusive agricultural commodity systems, making trade more accessible and increasing opportunities for farmers by setting grading standards, establishing fair prices, and deploying advanced technology for swift and efficient trading—all in alignment with the goals of the AfCFTA.