Barbados is expected to host more than 700 African businessmen, investors, and representatives of financial institutions during the first Africa-Caribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF) from August 31 to September 3 this year.
The Forum is one of the first projects coming out of last year’s First Africa-Caricom summit and will be held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre under the theme: “One People. One Destiny. Uniting and Reimagining Our Future”.
The event is a collective initiative of Invest Barbados and Export Barbados in collaboration with African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank).
“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,” a media release from Export Barbados (BIDC) and Invest Barbados stated.
“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.”
As part of their commitment to the Forum’s success, CEOs of Export Barbados (BIDC) and Invest Barbados Mark Hill and Kaye Greenidge respectively, hosted Kanayo Awani, executive vice president of Afreximbank’s Intra-African Trade Bank and her team during a preparatory visit to Barbados between July 20 and 22.
Awani also had meetings with Prime Minister Mia Mottley and representatives of key local and regional organisations.
Mottley said Barbados ACTIF2022 will be a major step towards strengthening relations between Caricom and Africa.
“Last September, Barbados signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Afreximbank, and we are committed to the success of that MOU,” she said.
“Indeed, Barbados is of the view that the Afreximbank is a key partner for all Caricom member states in facilitating trade and investment opportunities between Africa and the Caribbean.
The prime minister added: “Establishing air links between our regions is vital if those prospects are to be realised, and Barbados is committed to doing its part to achieve that. After four centuries, Africa and the Caribbean are joining forces, and so this Forum must embrace all our people.
“It is a historic moment that cannot be captured by only a few businesses and businessmen; none of us should miss it. I am confident that ACTIF2022 will connect our peoples and result in an increased flow of goods and services between our two regions – and overall, wider cooperation.”
Commenting on the Forum, Awani said ACTIF2022 was taking place against the backdrop of the renewed engagement between Africa and the Caribbean.
“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,” she said.
“Following the step taken on September 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.
“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”.
Intending participants, including potential exhibitors, can register for ACTIF2022 by visiting the event website.