Man from Sierra Leone presents food products at trade fair
Woman presents dried fruits at trade fair

West African businesses seal new deals at trade fairs

12 December 2023
ITC News

Two trade fairs provided a dynamic stage for agri-businesses. The Food & Beverage West Africa Trade Fair in Nigeria and FIARA in Senegal gave small businesses a chance to show off products that they’re ready to export.

Sixteen businesses from eight countries attended the fairs to promote a diverse range of products from fresh pineapple and mango to cassava-based goods. The businesses all work with the International Trade Centre (ITC), through its West Africa Competitiveness Programme (WACOMP).

Study tour enhanced opportunities in Senegal

In Senegal, a study tour expended the opportunities at the International Fair of Agriculture and Animal Resources (FIARA), by connecting the businesses with potential buyers.

‘This is my first participation at a fair in an English-speaking country, and it's already an opportunity to expand my business to these countries. In addition, the event was very rich and participants came from all over the world. I met five organizations that would like to represent my products in Nigeria,’ said Mohamadou Yaffa of Société Agrobusiness Mali SARL.

The study tour included eight meetings with other businesses, as well as with four production companies, one freight and distribution company, one online delivery service, and one supermarket.

The trade fair and the business-to-business (B2B) meetings led to more than $1.2 million in completed and potential sales.

‘Both the B2B and the trade fair were very essential to our individual businesses as we had a positive connection with potential buyers and companies. The only source of knowledge is experience,’ said owner Nyakeh Abdulai of the Sinava Women Agricultural Development Association (SiWADA) company in Sierra Leone.

More international deals reached in Nigeria

At the Lagos Food & Beverage Exhibition, ITC set up a pavilion to showcase its collaborations. That led to direct and upcoming sales worth $125,089, as well as less tangible benefits like networking, knowledge enhancement, and improved business practices.

Nigerian company Odihiagro Enterprises secured a deal with British importer Tropical Sun Foods for a 40-foot container of garri cassava flour. Additionally, Nigerian cassava processor Royal Pearls Resources Ltd inked a distribution contract with South Africa-based grocery store chain Shoprite.

The entrepreneurs said they learned a lot from the trade fairs, where they connected with others in their industry and envisioned a future where West African products resonate globally.

‘My participation at the fair was invaluable. I have gotten a lot of distributors for our products in Lagos, Abuja and Sagamu.  I have gotten contacts of companies that wants our products in UK, USA, and Canada in large quantities, and also those for contract buying,’ said Aishan Sulaiman, CEO of Royal Pearls Resources.

All the businesses are now journey toward prosperity, in a region poised for economic growth.

About the West Africa Competitiveness Programme (WACOMP)

WACOMP is financed by the European Union under the 11th European Development Fund. The programme aims to strengthen the competitiveness of West African countries and enhance their integration into the regional and international trading system. Under the WACOMP, ITC works in cooperation with UNIDO and under the overall guidance of the ECOWAS Commission. The overall objective of the programme is 'to strengthen the competitiveness of West Africa through an enhanced level of production, transformation and export capacities of the private sector in line with regional and national industrial and MSME strategies'. The project is implemented by the International Trade Centre.