FirstBank proud to sponsor Africa International Trade Exhibition 2023 – Adeduntan

FirstBank sponsors Africa International Trade Exhibition (AITE)

Chief executive officer of FirstBank Group Adesola Adeduntan has expressed the bank’s excitement at sponsoring the Africa International Trade Exhibition (AITE 2023) held on September 21 and 22, 2023 at the Hilton Hotel Midtown, New York, US.

The event was themed ‘The imperatives of global trade for African SMEs as a Game Changer for the Continent’s future prosperity.’

The bank said its sponsorship of the event reiterated its commitment to being the bank of first choice and financial gateway in supporting businesses to boost the growth and socio-economic development of the continent in today’s fast-evolving business landscape.

Notable personalities and dignitaries at the event include Doris Uzoka-Anite, minister of industry trade and investment and representative of President Bola Tinubu; minister of aviation and aerospace development, Festus Keyamo; minister of state, Federal Capital Territory, Mariya Mahmoud; Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Canada, Adeyinka Asekun; chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa; director, economic, trade and investment, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bolaji Akintemi; and the managing director, Bank of Industry, Olukayode Pitan.

Also present was the executive vice president of intra-African trade, African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), Kanayo Awani; FirstBank Group CEO, Adeduntan; executive director, corporate banking, FirstBank, Oluwatosin Adewuyi; and the executive director, treasury and international banking, FirstBank, Ini Ebong.

Visioner of the African International Trade Exhibition project Tunde MacAlabi said: “The AITE project is conceived to assist African SMEs to gain greater penetration in the North American market that has huge potential. The African American population in the US is 30 million strong, spending close to 1.2 trillion dollars as consumers.

“The popularity of our Afrobeat music, the ground that it is gaining in North America and the globe is remarkable. With this idea, pushing authentic African-made products into the market to rise on the wave of the popularity of our music can diversify the sources of foreign exchange income that we accurately need in Nigeria and Africa. 

“Our effort is a complementary private sector driven initiative to help bridge the commercial gap to increase the commercial engagement between Nigeria, Africa and the USA.”

Speaking at the event, Adeduntan said: “I am particularly delighted that this year’s theme beams the spotlight on a sector that can be referred to as the bedrock of Africa’s economic prosperity. Africa’s SME sector is also a good representation of the unyielding and resilient spirit of the African people in the face of many daunting challenges.

“With a vision to become ‘Africa’s Bank of First Choice’, FirstBank’s commitment to the development and economic transformation of the African continent is unwavering and we will continue to make the required investments to actualize this goal. I make bold to say that, in FirstBank, Africa has a dependable ally.


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“Indeed, it is the turn of Africa to rise, and FirstBank is strategically positioned to provide the required financial services support to the SME sector that will catalyze the next phase of Africa’s growth and development.”

Representing Prof. Benedict Oramah, president and chairman of Afreximbank, Mrs Awani said: “We must continue to leverage the platforms created by the Bank and AITE to forge partnerships, share ideas and contribute to the growth and development of African SMEs to ensure that their potentials as the driving force for the transformation of the continent. As l like to say, the opportunity is now, and it has a shelf life.”

Keyamo called for the liberalisation of the aviation sector within Africa.

Held on the sidelines of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), the event convened business leaders, entrepreneurs and government functionaries from diverse sectors across Africa and the globe.