Press releases

Scaling up through trade: World Export Development Forum in Zambia

14 June 2018
ITC News
Big focus on jobs for youth, agribusiness, investment, the African Continental Free Trade Area at ITC’s flagship event in Lusaka on 11-12 September 2018

(Geneva/Lusaka) – Youth will take centre stage at the World Export Development Forum 2018, taking place in Lusaka, Zambia, on 11-12 September where business leaders, policymakers and youth from around the world will explore a range of trade-related issues, including agribusiness, investment and the African Continental Free Trade Area.

Themed ‘Scaling Up through Trade’, this year’s annual flagship event of the International Trade Centre (ITC) will be co-hosted by the Government of Zambia through the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry.

Focusing on youth

The global population is forecast to grow by 2.2 billion people by 2050, and more than half of that growth is expected to be in Africa.

Following the launch of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement earlier this year, the African Union is putting youth at the heart of development, as drivers of growth. Policymakers and the business community are working on a friendlier environment for young people to gain relevant skills, start their own businesses and create quality jobs.

WEDF 2018 will kick off with an African Union and ITC interactive Youth UnConference on the topic of a world without borders, highlighting the perspectives of young entrepreneurs from eight African countries.

There will also be a young entrepreneurs’ pitch competition featuring seven candidates from across the African continent. Among the jurors will be Michael Ocansey, a Ghanaian entrepreneur and co-founder of the agri-tech start-up AgroCenta, who won last year’s WEDF competition competition, co-organized with Accelerate 2030, which also provided support to scale up his business. Ocansey went on to win half a million dollars at the 2018 Seedstars Competition, the world’s biggest pitch competition for emerging markets.

Have opinions? Take our survey on youth and trade here.

Making business deals

Another WEDF highlight will be the business-to-business meetings in agribusiness – from crops to oilseeds, prepared foods, honey, agricultural machinery and packaging, and more.

The meetings will bring together farmers, manufacturers, exporters, importers, wholesalers, retailers and investors interested in selling, buying or investing in select agricultural products and technologies.

At last year’s event in Budapest, Hungarian firms made deals with companies from a number of countries including Myanmar and Colombia.

Register for business-to-business meetings here.

Capitalizing on WEDF

Several events will be held at WEDF 2018:

  • A focus on women’s economic empowerment through the Launch of the Zambian chapter of SheTrades and a dedicated ‘in conversation’ with an inspirational woman leader
  • One-day event on packaging issues in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and IMA, the Italian packaging machinery manufacturer
  • Online training opportunities with the ITC SME Trade Academy
  • China-Zambia investment meeting under the Partnership for Investment and Growth in Africa (PIGA) initiative

Network with big names, businesses

Business delegations will be coming from countries such as China, India, Italy, Myanmar and others. Among WEDF speakers are:

  • H.E. Mr. Michael Bimha, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Zimbabwe
  • Ms. Jennifer Blanke, Vice-President of Agriculture, Human and Social Development, African Development Bank Group
  • Mr. Guy Hogge, Head of Global Sustainability, Louis Dreyfus Company 
  • Mr. Jacob Lushinga, Managing Director, Development Bank of Zambia
  • Mr. Frank Matsaert, Chief Executive Officer, TradeMark East Africa
  • Ambassador Albert Muchanga, Commissioner for Trade and Industry, African Union
  • Mr. George Ndirangu, TV presenter and producer, CNBC Africa
  • Mr. Ramah Nyang, TV news anchor, CGTN Africa
  • Dr. Benedict Okey Oramah, President, African Export Import Bank
  • Mr. Joakim Reiter, Group External Affairs Director, Vodafone
  • H.E. Dr. Isatou Touray, Minister of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment, The Gambia
  • Ms. Parminder Vir, Chief Executive Officer, Tony Elumelu Foundation

Useful links

World Export Development Forum:
WEDF registration:
WEDF B2B meetings:

Note for the Editor
The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. For more information, visit

For media inquiries:

Jarle Hetland, Media Officer
Office of the Executive Director
P: + 41 22 730 0145
M: + 41 79 582 9180
E: hetland [at] (hetland[at]intracen[dot]org )

For questions about the business-to-business meetings:
Beatriz Rodriguez, Trade Promotion Officer
P: +41 22 730 05 91
E: brodriguez [at] (brodriguez[at]intracen[dot]org)

For questions about youth-related events:
David Cordobes, Head, ITC Youth and Trade
P: +41 22 730 01 68
E: cordobes [at] (cordobes[at]intracen[dot]org)