Cairo, Egypt, December 15 2018 - Reaching its four-day mark yesterday, the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) welcomed Didier Drogba, a renowned footballer, entrepreneur and philanthropist, to a session where he told the audience that Africans had the capacity to bring development to the continent.
Mr. Drogba who featured in a conversation session titled “From Football Ace to a Business Executive: Leveraging the Brand Equity of African Stars” during the IATF2018 Conference, said that it was important for Africans to invest in African ventures rather than wait or depend on external parties to do so.
The IATF 2018 ambassador stressed the need for Africans to trade more among themselves in order to drive development on the content.
“I am here to promote trade between us as Africans because most of the time, we are quick to trade with other continents and not with each other,” he said. “I know that we have the potential and everything in our hands, to make it happen. We need to come out of our comfort zones and believe that we can do more”.
Mr. Drogba said that he was ready to work with diverse business sectors and industries, and to use his image as a brand to make a difference.
He said that he made the decision to become an entrepreneur early in his football career after seeing the situation of some formerly successful sports figures who faced hard times after retirement because they had not planned for life after sports. He said that he was driven by that fear.
Mr. Drogba expressed pride at being appointed an IATF 2018 ambassador and identified with the IATF objective of making Africa a better place.
The IATF, organised by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), in collaboration with the African Union Commission and hosted by the Government of Egypt, is running from 11 to 17 December. Almost 1,100 exhibitors are participating in the trade fair whose Deals Processing Centre has recorded transactions in excess of the initial target of $25 billion in signed trade deals, reaching $27 billion by the end of the third day.
Mr. Drogba’s appearance was capped with the presentation of an IATF Ambassador plaque to him by Jean-Louis Ekra, former President of Afreximbank and Vice Chairman of the Advisory Council of the IATF, joined by Kanayo Awani, Managing Director of Afreximbank’s Intra-African Trade Initiative.