OPPORTUNITY

EAC eyes deals at upcoming Germany trade fair

This year's Hannover trade fair kicks off next week Monday.

In Summary

•Also known as 'Hannover Messe', it is one of the world's largest trade fairs for promoting industrial technologies.

•Traditionally, it attracts about 6,500 exhibitors and 250,000 visitors but this year's event will be held virtually due to the pandemic.

EABC CEO and EAC Secretary General Peter Mathuki speaks during a media forum in Nairobi, on January 21/HANDOUT
EABC CEO and EAC Secretary General Peter Mathuki speaks during a media forum in Nairobi, on January 21/HANDOUT

East Africa's business community is angling itself for major trade and investment deals during this year's Germany Hannover trade fair, which kicks off next week Monday.

Also known as 'Hannover Messe', the week-long event is one of the world's largest trade fairs for promoting industrial technologies, usually held annually in Hannover City, Germany. 

Traditionally, it attracts about 6,500 exhibitors and 250,000 visitors. 

This year, the fair will sustain its innovative knack as a hybrid knowledge and networking platform, allowing East Africans to participate virtually.

On Friday, the East African Business Council (EABC) in partnership with GIZ- Business Scouts for Development Program, funded by the German Ministry for economic cooperation, BMZ held a virtual forum to explore challenges and risks inhibiting industrial transformation in the region.

They shared insights on opportunities that the bloc can benefit from by participating in the fair and its huge conference program.

Speaking during the event, EABC CEO and EAC Secretary General Peter Mathuki called for digitalization in the region and exploration of partnerships to diversify the manufacturing base.

Industries in East Africa have been able to repurpose and transform amid the pandemic. Strategic partnerships between Europe and East Africa should build the capacity of industries to tap into the opportunities of the EAC Common Market and African Continental Free Trade Area of 1.3 billion consumers,” Mathuki said.

Foreseen opportunities of the Hannover Fair include exploration of latest developments and know-how within the industrial sector, exploration of international market potentials and strengthened market linkages with international markets.

It also provides an opportunity for adoption and exploration of digital techniques of conducting networking events and positioning business brands, exchange of business and production ideas among manufactures in the region and beyond, partnership and collaboration for manufactures in similar production lines.

Mathuki has noted that the manufacturing sector in the region is promising and appropriate regional policies and strategies have been set up, which will help increase intra-regional manufacturing exports from the current five per cent to about 25 per cent by 2032.

Manufacturing remains key in driving the region's economies.

The African Development Bank projects that the EAC region is set to recover to 3.7 per cent in the baseline scenario and 2.8 per cent in the worst-case scenario, under the assumption that Covid-19 would be contained in the short-to-medium term (AfDB East Africa Economic Outlook, 2020). 

The five-day 2021 Hannover Messe Digital Edition is themed "Industrial Transformation" and promises to offer exhibitors an opportunity to fully exploit the market potential of their products and strengthen business linkages with international markets.