Afreximbank has opened a virtual platform for information on African trade, president of the bank, Benedict Oramah, announced on Wednesday.
Mr Oramah said the new platform was opened to run as part of the forthcoming intra-African Trade Fair (IATF 2018) in Cairo, Egypt next month.
He said the virtual trade platform, expected to run simultaneously with the main trade fair, will help address issues relating to trade facilitation, infrastructure and payments.
The VTF platform, he explained, would allow traders to conduct business-to-business deals, exchange market information and explore business relationships in African and global value chains during and after the IATF, without necessarily being at the trade fair.
Even after the biennial IATF, Mr Oramah said the platform would provide continuity for businesses that register on the VTF, as it will exhibit their goods and services to a global audience of buyers and market players, as well as to IATF participants.
"The conference will identify key trade facilitation challenges, including standards, customs and transport-related non-tariff barriers that are affecting Intra-African trade and will explore practical ways of collaboration to address them," Mr Oramah said.
In addition, Mr Oramah said the conference will also showcase intra-African trade value-chains and opportunities for developing and deepening them.
The Africa Trade Policy Centre; Afrochampions Initiative; International Trade Centre; and Pan-African Chamber of Commerce and Industry are partnering in the trade fair.
So far, he said, prospective exhibitors for the inaugural Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF 2018) have reached over 1,054, surpassing the target of 1,000 exhibitors set by Afreximbank, organisers of the fair.
The trade fair is organised in collaboration with the African Union Commission and hosted by Egypt. It is scheduled to take place at the Egypt International Exhibition Center, Cairo, from 11 to 17 December 2018.
Information by Afreximbank shows the registered exhibitors come from 41 countries and represent diverse sectors and industries, including agriculture, automotive, information and communication technology, construction, logistics, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, clothing and textiles, energy and power and entertainment.
More than 70,000 visitors are expected at the IATF 2018, which will provide exhibitors a platform to showcase their goods and services to buyers and sellers and offer opportunities for business-to-business exchanges. The Trade Fair will also provide access to $25 billion in trade finance for deals concluded at the event.
"We are encouraged by this resounding response and support received for the inaugural IATF," said Mr Oramah.
"We are expecting international exhibitors and visitors from as far as China, Russia and Indonesia.
"With the overwhelming response to the trade fair, buyers and sellers will be spoilt for choice of the goods and services that will be on show over the seven days," he said, noting that exhibitors would be bringing the best that their countries had to offer.