First Bank of Nigeria Limited, a trailblazer in the Nigerian financial sector, recently took a significant step towards fostering foreign direct investment in Africa by sponsoring the Africa International Trade Exhibition (A.I.T.E 2023) in New York.
The two-day event, which unfolded on September 21 and 22, 2023, at the prestigious Hilton Hotel Midtown, New York, served as a catalyst for promoting global trade for African SMEs.
The theme of the event, “The imperatives of global trade for African SMEs as a game changer for the continent’s future prosperity,” resonated with the attendees, which included notable personalities and dignitaries. Among those present were Dr. Doris Uzoka-Anite, Minister of Industry Trade and Investment; Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN, Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development of Nigeria; Dr. Mariya Mahmoud, Minister of State Federal Capital Territory; and His Excellency, Adeyinka Asekun, Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Canada.
FirstBank’s commitment to being the bank of first choice for businesses in Africa was reaffirmed through its sponsorship of this vital event. The bank aims to support businesses in enhancing growth and socio-economic development across the continent in today’s rapidly evolving business landscape.
Tunde MacAlabi, the visionary behind the African International Trade Exhibition project, highlighted the event’s purpose. He stated, “The AITE project is conceived to assist African SMEs to gain greater penetration in the North American market that has huge potentials.” MacAlabi emphasised the significant purchasing power of the African American population in the U.S., offering an opportunity to diversify foreign exchange income for Nigeria and Africa.
During the event, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, CEO of FirstBank Group, emphasised the pivotal role of Africa’s SME sector in the continent’s economic prosperity. He stated, “Africa’s SME sector is a good representation of the unyielding and resilient spirit of the African people in the face of many daunting challenges.”
The event, held on the sidelines of the 78th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), facilitated networking among think tanks and provided a platform for organisations to showcase cutting-edge products and services. This avenue aimed to build valuable business relationships and foster economic advancement and cooperation beyond the African continent.
FirstBank, known as the premier bank in West Africa, with an extensive presence across the continent, remains committed to promoting economic transformation in Africa and supporting SMEs. The bank’s sponsorship of A.I.T.E 2023 signifies its unwavering dedication to realising this vision.